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Project Summary

Project 1994-018-07 - Garfield County Fall Chinook and Steelhead Habitat Improvement
Project Number:
Garfield County Fall Chinook and Steelhead Habitat Improvement
This proposal for project funding is important for the continued effort by the farmers and ranchers of Garfield County to improve the water quality of the streams to meet Washington State Standards and also improve stream habitat for Steelhead and resident rainbow trout. It comprises two Sub-basins, Lower Snake and Tucannon. Three of the four streams involved in the project are habitat for Steelhead with one of those is impacting the water quality of the lower Tucannon River which is a spawning and rearing area for Fall Chinook. Meadow Creek has the potential for Steelhead with some habitat improvement.
To improve the water quality, the project will focus mainly on upland and rangeland practices that will reduce soil erosion and sediment delivery into the streams. Sediment entering the streams has created a high level of embeddedness and increased temperature and greatly reduced the capability of Steelhead to spawn and rear in these streams. The majority of riparian projects will be addressed by Department of Ecology and Conservation Commission grants.
To accomplish this improvement in spawning and rearing habitat with this proposal, cost effective and efficient upland and rangeland Best Management Practices (BMP’s) will be implemented. The project will include but not limited to the cost sharing to farmers to convert from conventional tillage farming to no-till/direct seeding and added focus to the treatment of the rangeland by spraying to control noxious weeds and following with reseeding those acres with native grass.
The work will be completed in areas of the watersheds of the named streams that have the highest potential of making impacts on the immediate and short term improvement of water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.
The work will be completed by the voluntary efforts of the farmers and ranchers of the areas designated in the sub-basin plans.
Proponent Orgs:
Pomeroy Conservation District (SWCD)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau Tucannon 100.00%
Focal Species:
Bass, Largemouth
Bass, Smallmouth
Carp, Common
Chinook - Snake River Fall ESU
Chinook - Snake River Spring/Summer ESU
Crappie, Black
Crappie, White
Freshwater Mussels
Perch, Yellow
Pikeminnow, Northern
Steelhead - All Populations
Steelhead - Snake River DPS
Sturgeon, White - All Populations except Kootenai R. DPS
Trout, Brown
Trout, Bull
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Rainbow
Whitefish, Mountain
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%

Description: Page: 1 Cover: Cover photo

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

Dimensions: 640 x 480

Description: Page: 3 Map 1: Map of Garfield County in SE Washington

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

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Description: Page: 8 Figure 1: BPA Cost Share Sites implemented in Pataha Watershed during 2011.

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

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Description: Page: 9 Figure 2: No-till drill

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

Dimensions: 640 x 479

Description: Page: 10 Figure 3: Pomeroy CD new Weed seeker sprayer

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

Dimensions: 640 x 480

Description: Page: 11 Map 2: No caption provided.

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

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Description: Page: 12 Map 3: No caption provided.

Project(s): 1994-018-07

Document: P125635

Dimensions: 1000 x 593



Dimensions: 640 x 479

Description: This drill and tractor is one of several currently being used in the Pomeroy CD to implement the no-till/direct seeding program.



Dimensions: 640 x 479

Summary of Budgets

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

To see more detailed project budget information, please visit the "Project Budget" page

No Decided Budget Transfers

Pending Budget Decision?  No

Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2024
Cost Share Partner Total Proposed Contribution Total Confirmed Contribution
There are no project cost share contributions to show.
Previous Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Total Contributions % of Budget
2012 $94,678 58%
2011 $18,000 21%
2010 $152,895 70%
2009 $188,775 75%
2008 $224,717 78%
2007 $456,637 88%


The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Closed, Complete, History, Issued.
* "Total Contracted Amount" column includes contracted amount from both capital and expense components of the contract.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Total Contracted Amount Dates
608 REL 2 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1999-021-00 PATAHA WATERSHED PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION Terminated $126,739 12/1/2000 - 11/30/2001
4289 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1999-021-00 PATAHA WATERSHED PLANNING/IMPLEMENTATION History $119,817 4/2/2001 - 3/31/2004
6874 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1999-059-00 PATAHA WATERSHED RIPARIAN & CROPLAND RESTORATION History $76,399 9/24/2001 - 12/31/2003
17137 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District PI 199401807 GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMP. PROG. History $122,386 3/1/2004 - 2/28/2006
26584 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 199401807 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMPRVMNT History $80,000 3/1/2006 - 2/28/2007
31784 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 199401807 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMPRVMNT History $55,164 3/1/2007 - 5/31/2008
38003 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMPROVE History $43,405 6/1/2008 - 5/31/2009
42824 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMPROVE History $38,041 6/1/2009 - 5/31/2010
48075 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMPROVE History $56,817 6/1/2010 - 5/31/2011
53339 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN IMPROVE History $56,115 6/1/2011 - 5/31/2012
57424 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO SEDIMENT REDUCTION & RIPARIAN History $48,891 6/1/2012 - 5/31/2013
61567 SOW Pomeroy Conservation District 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO: IMPROVE AND ENHANCE RIPARIAN HABITAT History $40,330 6/1/2013 - 5/31/2014

Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):9
On time:8
Status Reports
On time:21
Avg Days Late:8

                Count of Contract Deliverables
Earliest Contract Subsequent Contracts Title Contractor Earliest Start Latest End Latest Status Accepted Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
4289 17137, 26584, 31784, 38003, 42824, 48075, 53339, 57424, 61567 1994-018-07 EXP GARFIELD CO: IMPROVE AND ENHANCE RIPARIAN HABITAT Pomeroy Conservation District 04/02/2001 05/31/2014 History 37 48 0 0 30 78 61.54% 3
Project Totals 37 48 0 0 30 78 61.54% 3

The table content is updated frequently and thus contains more recent information than what was in the original proposal reviewed by ISRP and Council.

Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1994-018-07-NPCC-20131126
Project: 1994-018-07 - Garfield County Fall Chinook and Steelhead Habitat Improvement
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal: GEOREV-1994-018-07
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 11/5/2013
Recommendation: Under Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1994-018-07-ISRP-20130610
Project: 1994-018-07 - Garfield County Fall Chinook and Steelhead Habitat Improvement
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal Number: GEOREV-1994-018-07
Completed Date: 9/26/2013
Final Round ISRP Date: 8/15/2013
Final Round ISRP Rating: Does Not Meet Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:

The response from the project sponsors addressed a few of the ISRP’s concerns but did not deal with some of the major concerns. In particular, the responses to our concerns about prioritization of projects, relationships with other projects in the county, and adaptive management were not sufficient. In addition, the apparent reluctance to present any of the temperature and sediment monitoring data collected by this project in the past is puzzling. These data could provide clear evidence that the project has made progress in addressing its major objectives. Without this information it is not possible to determine if the projects implemented to date have had a positive influence.

Priority areas for project implementation need to be identified. This type of assessment should form the foundation of a habitat restoration program. The response to ISRP concerns on this issue indicates that the sponsors feel that any project anywhere in the county has the potential to benefit aquatic system health in some way. This contention may be true, but there will be locations where execution of a project will have the greatest benefits for fish. Targeting actions to these locations could greatly enhance the effectiveness of this program. A priority for the sponsors of this proposal should be the development of a project prioritization process. The inability to identify high-priority projects was the greatest weakness of this project proposal.

The project sponsors responded to the ISRP concern about the lack of RM&E and a formal adaptive management design by stating that monitoring is not a component of this project. However, they do indicate that temperature and sediment monitoring have occurred as part of this project, so some level of monitoring has been included in this project in the past. The response did not include any results from these monitoring efforts in the proposal. The sponsors indicated that they were unable to include the temperature information because the database was too large. The entire database does not have to be incorporated into the proposal to provide some indication that the riparian projects that have been implemented to date are having a positive influence of water temperature. A single graph displaying average summer water temperatures over the monitoring period at a subset of the monitored sites would have provided some concrete indication of whether or not the restoration efforts were having the desired effect. The fact that steelhead now spawn in Pataha Creek and that this stream has been re-designated from a minor spawning area to a major spawning area was offered as evidence that water temperature is declining. However, increased steelhead spawning may have nothing to do with water temperature. Barrier removal may be the action that has caused this response. Data from both the sediment and temperature monitoring should have been used in the proposal to demonstrate that the project is making progress against objectives.

The ISRP’s concern about lack of coordination between activities on Pataha Creek supported through this project and the large Tucannon habitat program and Tucannon monitoring project was not considered a serious issue by the project sponsors for two reasons: 1) Pataha Creek enters into the Tucannon 10 miles from its mouth, below the area that is the focus of the Tucannon program, and 2) Pataha Creek does not support Chinook, the focal species for the Tucannon program. Nonetheless, it seems obvious that, as both these projects are addressing habitat concerns in the same watershed, some degree of collaboration, or at least close communication, would be beneficial. At a minimum, some discussion of the relevance of the fish data being collected by the Tucannon monitoring effort for assessing biological response to the projects being implemented on Pataha Creek should have been included in the proposal.

The ISRP question concerning the need for annual reconnaissance flights to survey for fish passage barriers was adequately clarified. The sponsors have decided that annual flights are unnecessary as some of the barriers they thought were limiting fish movement (tumbleweed accumulations in the channel) were only temporary and did not present a migration blockage. The response also indicates that their barrier assessment is incomplete; barrier assessments on some private lands have not been conducted. Apparently, the locations for which landowner permission can be secured will be surveyed on foot. This approach seems reasonable.

The concern about lack of landowner participation in the no-till program was partially addressed. The response indicates that the no-till funding provided through this project was simply being used to provide farmers an opportunity to try a no-till approach with limited financial risk. They indicate that many of the program participants ultimately employ no till on part or all of their land. They also clarified that landowner concerns about increased regulatory focus if they participated in the program was specifically related to certain funding sources to reduce livestock impacts on water quality. The sponsors are developing alternative mechanisms for addressing these issues that minimizes landowner concerns about regulatory exposure. But the response did not provide any detail about the results of experimental trials on the effectiveness of the cultivation practices being supported through this program. The proposal indicates that no-till practices "can lower fertilizer application rates and reduce herbicide use over time." Is there any concrete evidence that the nutrient or agricultural chemical delivery to streams been reduced?

Evaluation of Results

The proposal did not incorporate information on program actions completed to date in the body of their proposal, but the response directed reviewers to annual reports that do contain some of this information. However, results of temperature and sediment monitoring were not provided and the relationship of this project with biological monitoring efforts occurring under other projects in Garfield County, notably in the Tucannon River, was not described. This program can make an important contribution to habitat recovery in the county as it has access to multiple funding mechanisms. However, the lack of a process for identifying priority actions in the county and the apparent absence of an adaptive management program are limiting effectiveness.

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

This proposal lacked sufficient information to enable a technical review. The proposal should be resubmitted for ISRP review after addressing the concerns detailed in the comments below.

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

This project proposes to employ several techniques to improve steelhead habitat in four creeks in Garfield County, WA. The significance of this work to regional programs is not well described in the proposal. The authors do provide evidence that these streams either support steelhead or have some potential to support these fish if habitat conditions are improved. But there is no specific information provided that indicates to what extent the deliverables associated with this project would contribute to habitat improvement. There also is very little discussion of the integration of this effort with the large Tucannon River restoration program. This proposal does not discuss the Tucannon effort nor was there any mention of this project in the Tucannon habitat proposal that was included in this review process. The components of this project related to Pataha Creek would benefit from a closer alignment with the Tucannon restoration effort.

The technical background for this project is incomplete. There is some indication given in the proposal that stream temperature data have been collected since 1993 and have shown improvement as restoration actions have been implemented. The temperature information was not included in the proposal. Any information about past and current habitat conditions on the project creeks would have been helpful in establishing the need for this project.

The project has generic goals such as reduce sediment flow into waterways and remove barriers, but little explanation is provided as to how these goals will be accomplished. Reduction in sediment delivery to the project streams is likely an appropriate objective but without supporting information on the current habitat conditions in these streams, judging the significance of the sediment problem relative to other possible limiting factors is not possible. Increased participation in no-till agriculture is viewed as one mechanism to reduce sediment delivery to streams. However, the proposal indicates many challenges with the existing no-till cost-share project. There is no indication in the proposal of steps that will be taken to address the current reluctance of farmers to participate in the program. The objective dealing with barrier assessment is somewhat puzzling. The proposal suggests that barriers form frequently enough to require annual surveillance fights. Barrier surveys in other watersheds are usually done very infrequently, assuming that barriers are long-term features that do not appear and disappear rapidly. There also was a statement in the proposal about barriers being formed by windblown debris. The process by which barriers are formed in these systems should have been described more fully to justify the annual reconnaissance flights.

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

The history of this project was briefly described, focusing on the changes in agricultural practices over the last 20 years and how these changes have affected the nature of the cost-share program in the county. The proposal also provides a high-level description of some of the riparian protections that have been implemented over this time. However, little information was provided about changes that have been observed in stream habitat as a result of efforts to date. Some mention was made about improvements in stream temperature and streambed embeddedness, but no data were provided to support these observations.

Although this project has been in existence, in some form, since 1993, there does not appear to be any plan that has identified the specific areas within the project watersheds where the implementation of sediment controls, riparian protections, or barrier removal would be most beneficial to the focal species. Improvement of habitat conditions could be much more effective if restoration and protection actions were focused on the most critical sites. Even though landowner participation in the programs supported through this project is voluntary, with some understanding of the most ecologically significant sites, a targeted effort might be made to encourage key landowners to participate in the program.

A troubling aspect of the description of the history of this project is the apparent decrease in participation by farmers in the cost-share program for no-till agriculture. This decline in participation was attributed to the fact that farmers can apply for cost share only a limited number of times and many have reached this limit and the fear that accepting cost share will expose the landowner to additional regulatory scrutiny. As one of the primary deliverables of this project is to increase the acres in the county utilizing no-till practices, the reluctance of landowners to participate would appear to be a serious barrier to project success. What steps are being taken to encourage greater participation in the cost-share program?

The adaptive management component of this proposal was very brief and really did not describe a process for adaptively improving the effectiveness of restoration actions over time. In fact, there was no description of an RME component associated with this project, without which adaptive management is not possible.

In sum, results of past restoration efforts from this study were incompletely described. Given that this project has been in existence since 1993, a substantial amount of information on the habitat response to project actions should be available. This information should be included in the proposal.

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

As mentioned above, the proposal does not describe the relationship of this project to other projects occurring in Garfield County. The most obvious oversight in this regard is the failure to discuss relationships with the major restoration effort occurring in the Tucannon River. Given that the Tucannon will be one of the CHaMP sites, there could be a significant amount of information on habitat condition generated that would be useful in evaluating the response to the actions undertaken by this project.

The proposal acknowledges that climate change may be an issue of some significance in the project area but concludes that as there is nothing that can be done to increase late summer flow, there are no available actions to help mitigate impacts. There are actions, other than increased late summer flow, that might help address impacts from climate change. For example, the proposal does indicate that there have been improvements in stream temperature since project inception. Elevated temperatures are an expected product of climate change. Actions to reduce temperature, therefore, represent one possible option for addressing climate change impacts. A more careful consideration of the options for addressing the effects of climate change should have been included in the proposal. Also, given the rapid changes that have occurred in farming and ranching practices over the life of this project, it seems reasonable to assume that practices will continue to evolve. What types of changes might be anticipated and what might be the environmental consequences of these potential changes in management?

No RME component for this study is described in the proposal. However, there is mention of the collection of temperature data and the project has purchased ISCO water samplers, suggesting that sediment concentrations in stream water are being monitored. Some description of how these data are being analyzed and used to improve project effectiveness needs to be included in the proposal. In addition, there are some monitoring efforts occurring in the county that will provide information useful for assessing the effectiveness of actions undertaken by this project. Most notable in this regard is the initiation of CHaMP monitoring on the Tucannon River. Although it may not be feasible to incorporate a comprehensive monitoring and research effort into this project, the proposal should include some description of how the project sponsors will utilize information being generated by the other assessment efforts occurring in the region.

The proposal describes a program to be funded under this project entitled “improve soil health.” The details of this program are not provided, but it appears that it will represent a new approach to no-till farming with a focus on restoring soil health sufficiently to reduce the need for fertilizer and other agrochemicals. A significant research effort to determine its effectiveness of this new approach to agriculture would seem to be critical. No RME for this new program was included in the proposal.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

A more thorough description of the work elements that will be used to achieve the deliverables should be included in the proposal. There are two deliverables for this project: reduce sedimentation in the project creeks and conduct an annual assessment for fish barriers. However, the work elements that will be used to achieve these deliverables are only described very briefly. As noted earlier, efforts to reduce sediment production could be made much more effective by prioritizing the sites within the four project watersheds where sediment production and delivery to the drainage network is most problematic. Apparently, no such prioritization plan has been developed. The deliverables on barrier removal require a substantial amount of further explanation. In fact, it is not clear that barrier removal is an appropriate component of this project. An organization with more expertise in fisheries science may be better suited for barrier identification, assessment, and development of plans for removal. If the deliverable related to barrier assessment remains in this project, additional explanation of the issue being addressed and the methods to be used to assess barriers is required, especially some rationale as to why annual reassessments are considered necessary.

Specific comments on protocols and methods described in

Monitoring was not discussed in the proposal.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/26/2013 2:30:57 PM.
Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (7/10/2013)
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1994-018-07-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1994-018-07 - Garfield County Fall Chinook and Steelhead Habitat Improvement
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Move to Lower Snake in database. ISRP fundable qualified: programmatic habitat m&e issue, see decision memo discussion. Project to be implemented with reduced scope.

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1994-018-07-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1994-018-07 - Garfield County Fall Chinook and Steelhead 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:
The response did not satisfy the ISRP questions and there remains uncertainty about the biological benefits of the work completed and planned. The dilemma is that the work very likely does have positive benefits if carried to completion; i.e., no-till is widely practiced. Evidence to that effect was not provided. The literature on no-till has shown benefits to habitat issues, but benefits need to be shown to fish for this project. This after all is being funded as a fish benefit project. To assume this is tied to spawning in the mainstem is a bit of a leap.

This project, however, isn't the likely project to do this monitoring (it may be the project to pay for the monitoring), but some project in the basin needs to do this analysis of data from an existing project. The Forest Service needs to be brought in. If the project sponsors summarized all the data on no-till from projects elsewhere, described successes and failures, and added a piece on fish benefits that could make a justified project and provide a basis for a good brochure on the benefits of no-till.

Since the sponsor reports that bio-engineered projects they have completed were found to be economically infeasible and not a good habitat benefit for steelhead, they should publish these results to provide guidance for other similar projects.

Sponsor reported that many acres are now in CREP and that sediment, water temperature, habitat diversity are all improving, but no data are provided. Benefits to salmon and steelhead spawning are assumed to be improving. Improved spawning condition is the reason for the project, so there should be some indication of its success. They should now be in a position to show skeptics that they are producing the expected benefits. Absent an evaluation, the initial hypothesis that no-till in the Pataha Basin would reduce sediment yield in important spawning areas and help overcome limits on survival caused by embedded spawning grounds remains untested.

Another primary question is, "At what point in time can it be concluded that encouragement of farmers by means of such demonstration projects will no longer be necessary?" Some sort of periodic survey would be useful.

The qualification associated with the ISRP recommendation is that the sponsors secure provisions for monitoring of biological responses.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1994-018-07-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1994-018-07
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 1 - Appears reasonable
Comment: Multiple habitat restoration activities (fencing, planting, water source development); multiple other entities authorized/required; assume BPA funding not being utilized for specific practices that other entity required to perform.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1994-018-07-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1994-018-07
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Andre L'Heureux (Inactive) Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration