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Project Summary

Project 1993-040-00 - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement
Project Number:
1993-040-00
Title:
Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement
Summary:
Same as contract summary since only one contract
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
1994
Ending FY:
2017
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Gorge Fifteenmile 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Chinook - Mid-Columbia River Spring ESU
Coho - Unspecified Population
Cutthroat Trout, Coastal - All Anadromous Populations
Cutthroat Trout, Coastal - Resident Populations
Cutthroat Trout, Coastal - Southwest Washington/Columbia River ESU
Lamprey, Pacific
Lamprey, River
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS (threatened)
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Rainbow
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

Solar wells on Fifteenmile Creek at Randy Mcallasters

Figure Name: Figure 9a

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 17

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Solar wells on Fifteenmile Creek at Randy Mcallasters

Figure Name: Figure 9b

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 17

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Solar wells on Fifteenmile Creek at Randy Mcallasters

Figure Name: Figure 9c

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 17

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Solar wells on Fifteenmile Creek at Randy Mcallasters

Figure Name: Figure 9d

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 17

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Thermograph locations within the Fifteenmile Basin.

Figure Name: Figure 10

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 20

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Ramsey Creek R13, RM 3.5

Figure Name: Figure 16a

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 26

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Ramsey Creek R13, RM 3.5

Figure Name: Figure 16b

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 26

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Fifteenmile Creek JM 3, RM 10.0

Figure Name: Figure 17a

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 26

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Fifteenmile Creek JM 3, RM 10.0

Figure Name: Figure 17b

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 26

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Typical steelhead redd in Fifteenmile Creek.

Figure Name: Figure 18

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 28

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Fifteenmile steelhead smolt.

Figure Name: Figure 19

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 30

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Rotary screw trap at confluence of Eightmile and Fifteenmile Creek.

Figure Name: Figure 20

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 30

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Dual antennas to detect direction of travel.

Figure Name: Figure 21

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 35

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797

Weir incased in ice during December 2009.

Figure Name: Figure 22

Document ID: P122212

Document: Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Restoration Project, 10/09 - 9/10

Page Number: 35

Project: 1993-040-00

Contract: 49797


Summary of Budgets

To view all expenditures for all fiscal years, click "Project Exp. by FY"

Expense SOY Budget Working Budget Contracted Amount Modified Contract Amount Expenditures *
FY2016 (Previous) $331,700 $331,700 $331,700 $331,700 $307,599

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $331,700 $331,700 $331,700 $307,599
FY2017 (Current) $331,700 $331,700 $331,700 $331,700 $128,584

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $331,700 $331,700 $331,700 $128,584
FY2018 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $0 $0 $0 $0

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 31-Mar-2017

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $331,700 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY16 Initial Planning Budgets - Expense 05/22/2015
FY2017 Expense $331,700 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2016 0 %
FY2015 0 %
FY2014 0 %
FY2013 1 %
FY2012 1 %
FY2011 34 %
FY2010 9 %
FY2009 9 %
FY2008 7 %
FY2007 19 %
Fiscal Year Cost Share Partner Total Proposed
Contribution
Total Confirmed
Contribution

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
5261 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1993-040-00, FIFTEENMILE CREEK HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECT History $668,448 7/1/2001 - 9/30/2004
19930 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife PI 1993-040-00 15 MILE CR. HABITAT RESTORATION History $433,312 10/1/2005 - 9/30/2006
29465 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1993-040-00 EXP 15 MILE CR. HABITAT RESTORATION History $287,328 10/1/2006 - 12/31/2007
BPA-003714 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Impr Active $1,816 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
BPA-004146 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Fifteenmile Creek Active $3,610 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009
BPA-004819 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement Active $8,810 10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010
71770 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1993-040-00 EXP FIFTEENMILE CREEK HABITAT IMPROVEMENT Issued $331,700 3/1/2016 - 2/28/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):12
Completed:11
On time:11
Status Reports
Completed:50
On time:28
Avg Days Late:0

Earliest Subsequent           Accepted Count of Contract Deliverables
Contract Contract(s) Title Contractor Start End Status Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
19930 29465, 35402, 39622, 44224, 49797, 54768, 59445, 65070, 68612, 71770, 75372 PI 1993-040-00 15 MILE CR. HABITAT RESTORATION Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 10/2005 10/2005 Signature 50 147 0 0 2 149 98.66% 0
BPA-003714 PIT Tags - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Impr Bonneville Power Administration 10/2007 10/2007 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-004146 PIT Tags - Fifteenmile Creek Bonneville Power Administration 10/2008 10/2008 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-004819 PIT Tags - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement Bonneville Power Administration 10/2009 10/2009 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 50 147 0 0 2 149 98.66% 0


Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1993-040-00-ISRP-20130610
Project: 1993-040-00 - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal Number: GEOREV-1993-040-00
Completed Date: 9/26/2013
Final Round ISRP Date: 8/15/2013
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:

The project sponsors have provided reasonably detailed answers to most of the ISRP's questions. However, as the project progresses, we feel that more thought should be given to establishing metrics that will enable biological assessment of restoration success. The response to question 1 (What quantitative evidence exists that habitat projects have led to increases in steelhead abundance or distribution within the drainage system?) shows that steelhead spawning is now more dispersed in the drainage network than was the case a decade ago, but the link between this observation and restoration actions was not fully discussed. As pointed out, the monitoring period has likely not been sufficiently long to detect trends in smolt production or adult steelhead escapement, but it would be very helpful to identify a time frame for expected benefits, the life history stages most likely to be influenced by restoration actions, and a target trajectory for population recovery. We realize that annual variability makes it very difficult to establish meaningful, realistic fish population goals. But without some quantitative biological metrics and targets, it will be impossible to gauge long-term restoration success.

The response to Question 6 was not complete. The ISRP asked how biological targets for steelhead were being established for Fifteenmile Creek. The project sponsors indicated that the objective was to achieve "highly viable" status for the steelhead population as at least one eastside Cascade tributary needs to achieve this status for recovery. The project sponsors should collaborate with the group conducting the RM&E project on this stream to develop realistic, quantitative objectives for the steelhead population recovery.

Adult and smolt data from the RM&E project were provided, but interpretation of these data was very brief. The project sponsors suggest fish data have not been collected for a sufficiently long period of time to detect any response to habitat improvements. However, there are also suggestions of a response in terms of improved distribution of spawning steelhead and an increase in smolts leaving the system the last several years. Continuing these monitoring efforts should eventually provide some indication of the overall success of the restoration program for steelhead. Juvenile steelhead density and distribution will be monitored at large-scale habitat projects. These data will be most useful if they are collected in a manner that enables estimation of the contribution that fish from these project sites make to system productivity.

The photo-points and descriptions of riparian habitat improvements in the Fifteenmile subbasin were appreciated. More detailed description of how the working relationship with the ODFW research and habitat project has benefited the project (including the use of data to develop specific steelhead population goals) would improve the project proposal and help focus future habitat improvement work.

Evaluation of Results

The restoration efforts in the Fifteenmile Creek subbasin are remarkable in that they have covered a very significant portion of privately owned lands. The extent of restoration coverage, and the obviously successful collaboration between conservation organizations and local stakeholders, is an example for other subbasins to follow. Given this high level of cooperation and the high percentage of riparian zones enrolled in the CREP program, measureable improvements in freshwater production ought to be achieved over time. Carefully selected biological metrics can help document long-term population recovery.

First Round ISRP Date: 6/10/2013
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

The project has achieved important improvements in stream and riparian habitat on private lands in the Fifteenmile Creek subbasin, and the ISRP continues to find this effort justified. Because the project has been in place for two decades, we would like more details about the results of the restoration efforts to date. Specifically in the response, we would like to know (1) what quantitative evidence exists that the habitat projects have led to increases in steelhead abundance or distribution within the drainage system, and (2) what improvements in riparian communities have resulted from livestock exclosures and alternative watering sites. The response also should include summarized results from the ODFW monitoring project, acknowledging that monitoring is indicating that more adult steelhead are spawning in Fifteenmile Creek and that smolt production has increased. We would also like a little more detail about the budget requests for habitat complexity improvements in FY 2017 and 2018, and about the methods being used to monitor restoration success.

The components of the proposal related to O&M of existing habitat projects are adequately justified. We request more detail about the process being used to identify and prioritize new projects to determine if this part of the proposal is scientifically sound. Also, a more thorough description of the process to be used for adaptive management should be included. The existence of research programs for steelhead and lamprey in the Fifteenmile Creek watershed provides the opportunity to develop a very powerful adaptive management strategy for identifying future habitat projects, and a formal process should be established to ensure the research results are utilized to their full potential.

Other questions include:

If the project is intended to become a programmatic umbrella project, how will future restoration actions be selected and prioritized?

How are biological/fish targets for restoration benefits derived?

1. Purpose: Significance to Regional Programs, Technical Background, and Objectives

This project is now in its 20th year and deals with stream and riparian habitat restoration in Fifteenmile Creek, the easternmost limit of winter steelhead distribution in the Columbia River. Currently, Fifteenmile Creak supports one of two viable steelhead populations in the mid-Columbia, although adult population estimates are believed to be only about 30% of pre-development numbers. The steelhead population is also notable in that is entirely of natural origin and has never been supplemented with hatchery fish, and thus it is of interest for assessing the success of habitat restoration in a location where artificial production has not confounded the interpretation of population status and trends. Project sponsors have done a good job of relating this project to regional restoration programs. The technical background was clearly explained, and the habitat objectives in general were clear. No quantitative targets for habitat conditions over the entire subbasin were given, but the specific objectives of projects to be implemented in Fiscal Years 2014-2018 were clearly delineated.

This proposal covers a wide range of habitat restoration activities on Fifteenmile Creek. Effectiveness assessments associated with these projects have included photo points and water temperature monitoring. In addition, a project designed to assess steelhead population attributes has been implemented in this watershed. However, the only information provided about results from these efforts was before-after photos of vegetation recovery at several of the riparian fencing sites. Little information is provided about the temperature response at restoration locations or if water temperatures, in general, in the watershed are trending downwards as a result of the efforts. The proposal did not include information about steelhead response to the projects that have already been implemented. Even if insufficient data have been collected to determine the response of steelhead to the restoration efforts, some discussion of current status of the population would have provided valuable context for the habitat restoration program.

The objectives are appropriate for the project, but they are rather generic. Objective 1 does provide a quantitative goal in terms of increased steelhead smolt production. There is no link between this goal and the contribution past and future habitat restoration projects are expected to make towards achieving this goal.

The ISRP would like to have seen more information about what is being done to monitor agricultural chemicals. Because most steelhead spawning takes place above Dufur and a large fraction of Fifteenmile Creek spawning habitat lies in privately owned lands, chemical contamination of aquatic ecosystems could constitute a limiting factor.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management (Evaluation of Results)

Habitat accomplishments to date were adequately summarized. Although barrier removal and instream structure placement have figured prominently in the project's history, the centerpiece has been fencing 206 miles of riparian zones and installing 52 off-channel livestock watering sites. The photographs were helpful, although adding dates of the photos would have provided useful time references. The ODFW has also devoted resources and expertise to installing PIT-tag detectors and a screw trap to monitor juvenile movements on private lands, although data management has largely been given over to project 2010-035-00.

As noted above, there is relatively little presentation of results from the monitoring that has been conducted under this project or the companion steelhead monitoring project (2010-035-00). It would have been informative to provide an overview of the monitoring results to date to complement the description of the types of habitat projects that have been implemented.

The adaptive management discussion in the proposal needs further detail. The project sponsors focus on the critical need for good landowner relationships and the problems they have encountered with noxious weeds at their project sites as evidence of an adaptive management element for this project. However, no description was provided of how results from the steelhead population studies or the water temperature monitoring at project locations are being used to guide the selection of future projects. The existence of the steelhead research program in the Fifteenmile Creek watershed could provide information that could greatly improve the effectiveness of future habitat restoration efforts. There should be a formal process for reviewing the fish data regularly and incorporating these findings into the process for identifying and prioritizing future projects. This type of process would represent a true adaptive management component for this project.

The recent history of accomplishments, which uses photo point comparisons and documents 208 miles of fencing, is generally adequate.

Evaluation of Results

In our last review (2006) the ISRP requested information on how the restoration projects were affecting the distribution and abundance of steelhead and secondary focal species in the Fifteen Mile Creek subbasin. In this proposal, the project sponsors essentially point to project 2010-035-00 for a summary of population trends. We feel, however, that it would be helpful to show, in brief summary form, a graph or table of estimated adult steelhead escapement to Fifteenmile Creek over the last decade (or however long a reasonable database exists); a map or graph showing the current distribution of steelhead in the subbasin relative to the distribution prior to passage barrier removal; and a graph or table of the number of estimated steelhead smolts leaving Fifteenmile Creek. These data would help indicate whether the anticipated benefits of habitat restoration have been expressed over the last decade or so.

In addition, it would also be helpful to know how riparian areas are responding to livestock exclosures. Apart from before-after photos, have any vegetation plots been established to document riparian recovery over time? As well, can an indication of the extent of spread of invasive plants be provided? These data would provide evidence of the anticipated benefits of riparian protection.

3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions

The other projects occurring in the Fifteenmile Creek watershed were listed and briefly described. However, the actual linkages between these various projects and the one described in this proposal were not provided. For example, the proposal indicates that the monitoring projects for steelhead and lamprey in Fifteenmile Creek will generate information relevant to the design of habitat restoration efforts, but no evidence is provided that results from these projects were considered in identifying the new habitat actions included in this proposal. A more detailed description of the relationships among these projects is needed. Also, some discussion of the extent to which this habitat project is attempting to take advantage of results from the large habitat research programs in the Columbia Basin, for example ISEMP and CHaMP, should be included in the proposal.

The emerging limiting factors discussed in the proposal are climate change and the problems that have been encountered with noxious weeds. The climate change discussion is appropriate, and it is clear that many of the activities that have been included in this restoration program do have the potential to help mitigate for the expected changes in water quantity and quality caused by a warming climate. It is gratifying to know that the emphasis has been on improving habitat on private lands, which have often been overlooked in other subbasins. One of the climate-related factors that could affect habitat in Fifteenmile Creek and its tributaries is a change in the incidence of wildfire. In the event of a severe fire season, it will be interesting to examine how the riparian fencing projects hold up.

The significance of the noxious weed issue as a limiting factor for steelhead was less clear. Noxious weeds can certainly impact terrestrial systems, especially wildlife, but the manner in which these undesirable plants impact steelhead survival or the productive capacity of freshwater habitats in the Fifteenmile Creek watershed was not convincingly presented. Continued vigilance with respect to invasive plants is appropriate as an O&M activity associated with this project; however, this activity would likely be of greater significance to terrestrial system conditions than aquatic.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

The deliverables, work elements, and methods were described in a straightforward manner. The Dufur water intake bypass project seems appropriate. The additional 2 miles of riparian fence will only increase the fenced total in the subbasin by 1%, so it is assumed that most of the work will be on maintaining and repairing existing fences. A little more detail could have been provided for the Schanno, Remington, and Fulton habitat complexity projects, including location in the drainage network and perhaps a schematic diagram of the 5-mile reach after restoration has been implemented.

The project budget shows a large increase in facilities and equipment in FY2017 and 2018, but few details are given about these significant cost increases. What, specifically, will the funds be used for in these two fiscal years?

Maintaining the integrity of the fenced riparian areas and instream structures will be required for restoration efforts to positively influence steelhead production. The work elements associated with the new restoration projects, however, are not yet described fully enough to assess their technical merit. A more complete description of the process being used to identify the highest priority projects should be included in the proposal. Landowner willingness to participate is identified as the major factor for selecting projects in this watershed. However, the process being used to select projects from among those with a willing landowner is not fully described. The manner in which research results from the steelhead and lamprey projects has influenced the selection of the sites for future restoration projects also was not described. A clear description of how projects are prioritized and the manner in which research results will be used to modify the project selection process should be incorporated into the proposal.

Specific comments on protocols and methods described in MonitoringMethods.org

The methods listed in the proposal all address assessing the impact of livestock on streams. Because livestock exclusion from riparian areas is a major restoration element in this project, these methods do seem appropriate. However, several of the methods are related to assessing sediment levels in the stream or assessing the extent of bank erosion. The proposal indicates that the only monitoring associated with this project is compliance monitoring of project implementation, photo points, and temperature monitoring. If the project-scale monitoring does include an assessment of sediment, the manner in which these methods will be applied should be included in the proposal. None of the listed methods appear to be relevant for assessing the effectiveness of instream structures. What monitoring will be associated with the placement on logs or other structures in the stream?

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/26/2013 11:05:17 AM.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/26/2013 11:15:53 AM.
Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (7/2/2013)

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1993-040-00-NPCC-20131125
Project: 1993-040-00 - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal: GEOREV-1993-040-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 11/5/2013
Recommendation: Implement with Conditions
Comments: Implement through FY 2018. Also see Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: A. Implement Monitoring, and Evaluation at a Regional Scale—Also see Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1993-040-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1993-040-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: O&M for fencing, RM&E for other measures in conjunction with multiple entities; RM&E is linked to measuring success of funded activities; assume that requested funds consistent with terms of MOA.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1993-040-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1993-040-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1993-040-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1993-040-00 - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This group continues to impress, and is congratulated on preparing an excellent proposal that follows the subbasin plan and the previous advice of the ISRP. Fifteenmile Creek is one of the Basin's success stories in terms of bringing stakeholders and management organizations together. The work deserves to be continued, but it is time for the project managers to begin showing results in terms of improved population characteristics (e.g., VSP parameters) and long-term trends in habitat improvements. Although we are not requesting a response, the ISRP believes the project sponsors should consider the following points:

This project is an ODFW-led effort that has been ongoing for about a dozen years. The major emphases of the project are livestock exclusion from riparian areas, in-stream habitat improvements, and smolt monitoring. The technical background section provides a good description of the watershed's history and the significance of its fishery resources. Overall, Fifteenmile Creek has served as an excellent example of cooperation by local, federal, state, and tribal organizations, with a concerted effort to build local support. It could serve as a demonstration project for the basin, particularly for the bank stabilization work. However, a better documentation of biological response is required.

The proposal does a good job of describing the history of the project, going back to its genesis in 1987. The table giving a list of the accomplishments by year, including cost breakdowns, was helpful. The project history did not include a subbasin-wide summary of habitat improvements (e.g., total miles of stream fenced, numbers of structures placed, accompanied by an estimate of new pool habitat created), reductions in fine sediment in spawning gravels, and other performance metrics. Having those kinds of summary numbers would help evaluate the overall project effectiveness, and improve the proposal. The Fifteenmile Creek Restoration Project has implemented riparian protection and instream habitat improvement for almost 20 years. Much of this work is now demonstrating improved ecological health indicative of riparian corridor vegetation and improved channel stability. The minimal monitoring and evaluation of the project to date has primarily been useful to qualitatively demonstrate these improvements. Photopoint documentation and previous redd surveys are useful tools to document improvements but offer minimal quantified evidence to monitor successful fisheries and water quality recovery objectives.

This project proposes more scientific-based quantitative monitoring and evaluation to determine the success of implemented measures on fisheries populations. Previous temperature monitoring has suggested slight localized improvements to late summer water temperatures but is often obscured by conditions such as beaver impoundments, and increased water withdrawal. The steelhead redd survey protocol was modified in 2003 to incorporate a stratified random reach survey with index stations. Although this method has more scientific rational, it is still difficult to statistically enumerate adult escapement in the basin. This is the basis for proposing a quantitative approach to monitoring and evaluating the effects of habitat improvement using rotary screw traps and an adult monitoring facility.

This proposal will address instream habitat improvements that the Fifteenmile Subbasin Plan (WCSWCD 2004, pg 16) identified as the number two limiting factor in improving steelhead recovery as modeled by the EDT Scenario Builder. This will be accomplished through the design and construction of large woody debris complexes in areas defined in the subbasin plan and ODFW stream survey as productive but limiting in rearing habitat. This component will be the future direction for project implementation now that an estimated 85% of the riparian corridor is excluded from livestock grazing and undergoing vegetative recovery.

The objectives are clearly stated and measurable. Timelines were not always spelled out and should be clearer. The objectives called for increasing steelhead smolt output, but the proposal does not address the issue of adult returns and how this might influence smolt production, as we know they do. The abundance of adult steelhead returning to Fifteenmile Creek is estimated, thus it should be possible to estimate an egg-to-smolt survival rate (assuming a certain number of eggs per female), which would be an excellent indicator of restoration effectiveness. The appropriate response variable would be the smolt yield per spawner as a function of the number of spawners.

The project sponsors should publish the results of their bank stabilization efforts -- successes and failures. They have put over 2000 fish habitat structures. What are the results? There is a need for more literature in this area, towards evaluation of it as a cost-effective restoration approach. What is the tie between the efforts and the geomorphologic processes? Like the Wind River, this could be a good demonstration area. Fifteenmile Creek is the eastern-most stream for winter steelhead, thus critically important.

The background section of the proposal would have been more persuasive if it had included information about the recent status and trend of fish populations and habitat. Since this project has been in place for over a decade, what have we learned about its effects on fish (especially winter steelhead) populations and stream habitat? What is the evidence that all the hard work has really helped? The second objective (page 13) describes the monitoring program. Although this section was reasonably complete in terms of field techniques, there was no description of how that data would be analyzed, i.e., what statistical approaches would be used to measure response to the restoration work.

Some further suggestions should be considered. Methods are clearly described, and it was good to see some discussion of the changes that have been made in response to past difficulties. PIT tags will be utilized to determine in-subbasin and out-of-subbasin effects on Fifteenmile Creek's wild winter steelhead population. Because of the duration of the Fifteenmile Creek project, this watershed is an ideal place for PIT-tagging to determine the effectiveness of different restoration actions in different parts of the system. Although steelhead/rainbow trout will be PIT-tagged, it appears that the focus is on determining smolt trap efficiency and the proportion of age 0 downstream migrants to "true" smolts. Additional PIT-tag detectors on some of the tributaries and in the lower mainstem could yield important information. The assistance of a statistician may help design this level of evaluation.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1993-040-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1993-040-00 - Fifteenmile Creek Habitat Improvement
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Steven Springston Project Lead Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Jamie Cleveland Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Tom Nelson Supervisor Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Amy Mai Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
John Skidmore Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Chelsea Waddell (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Jesse Wilson Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Elisabeth Bowers Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration