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Project Summary

Project 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Project Number:
1995-060-01
Title:
Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Summary:
The CTUIR developed the Isqúulktpe Watershed Project under the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, beginning in 1995. (Note: In 2009, the spelling of the project title was changed from Iskuulpa to Isqúulktpe.) The purpose of the project is to offset habitat losses from, and provide in-kind mitigation for, the impacts of construction and operation of the John Day and McNary hydroelectric projects.

The Isqúulktpe Creek watershed is a fifth-order subbasin located in the Umatilla River Basin, encompassing approximately 24,200 acres. Located on the western slopes of the Blue Mountains in Oregon, Isqúulktpe (formerly known as Squaw) Creek, drains into the Umatilla River upstream of Pendleton, Oregon. Topography of the Isqúulktpe Watershed is typical of the Blue Mountain foothills, with broad flat ridges dissected by steep canyons with a variety of aspects. The project area contains approximately 958 acres of floodplain riparian habitat, 8,042 acres of grasslands, 4,898 acres of forest environments and 1,409 acres of upland shrub. The project area also contains 7 miles of anadromous and resident fish habitat.

Habitats within the 24,200 acre watershed provide approximately 3,832 habitat units of protection credits for seven target mitigation species. HEP species include mule deer, mink, western meadowlark, downy woodpecker, yellow warbler, great-blue heron and dusky (blue) grouse. Protection and enhancement of habitat within the watershed provides dual benefits to fish and wildlife by: 1) providing perpetual protection of watershed resources, 2) enhancing habitats to provide partial mitigation, and 3) improving natural salmonid habitat and production.

Project activities include: 1) Planning and Design; 2) Construction and Implementation; 3) Operations and Maintenance; and 4) Monitoring and Evaluation. Many of the major tasks are annual in nature, and contribute to on-going protection of the wildlife area. Management efforts are designed to protect, enhance, and mitigate target wildlife mitigation species, promote watershed health, and nurture self sustaining ecosystems. The Project emphasizes two principle strategies for acquiring, protecting, and enhancing habitat to meet these purposes: fee acquisitions; and the leasing of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) administered grazing allotments, and resting them from livestock use:

Habitat Acquisition (1997, 1998, and 1999):
Approximately 6000 acres have been purchased for fish and wildlife mitigation and placed into permanent protection. (Other federal, non-governmental, and tribal funding has been used to secure fee title to properties within the watershed, in addition to BPA-funded acquisitions). These land holdings are all managed to protect and support grassland, forest, and riparian wetland habitats.

1997 Approximately 5,536 acres of land in the Iskuulpa Creek subbasin purchased to form the nucleus of the Squaw Creek Watershed Project. Additionally, 1,005 acres of BIA-administered Trust land was incorporated into the project.
1998 Acquired an additional 320 acres of fee lands. Initiated passive restoration of riparian and grassland habitats through lease/rest of two BIA-administered grazing units - lease totals approx. 20,000 acres and 1,056 AUMs.
1999 Acquired an additional 80 acres of land. Administratively closed 16.3 miles of road to protect fish and wildlife habitats.

Grazing leases purchase (initiated in 1998):
2 BIA-administered grazing allotments, containing approximately 11,500 acres and providing approximately 1,056 animal unit months (AUMs), are leased annually. The acres rested from livestock grazing include important grassland, riparian wetland, and in-stream habitats. The leasehold of grazing rights supports ongoing enhancement activities, and protects these habitats from further degradation.

The Isqúulktpe Creek Watershed project area includes three classes of land ownership; 1) fee lands, 2) CTUIR Tribal Trust lands, and 3) CTUIR-member allotments. The 1997 Memorandum of Agreement between BPA and the CTUIR differentiates how BPA receives mitigation credit for lands acquired in fee, and leased lands. For fee lands acquired as mitigation through the Fish and Wildlife Program, BPA receives full credit for acquisition, protection and enhancement. For leased lands (e.g. grazing leases), BPA receives full credit for protecting habitat units (HUs) of rangeland species affected by grazing, and full credit for habitat improvements to all habitats in the leased area.

Land acquisitions protected an estimated 4,567 baseline HUs for target wildlife species. An additional estimated 393 HUs could be achieved through habitat enhancements developed over the 10-year period of the Isqúulktpe Management Plan. Estimated total benefit of the project expressed through HUs is 4,960 units.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) (Tribe)
Starting FY:
1995
Ending FY:
2032
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau Umatilla 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
All Anadromous Salmonids
Chinook - Mid-Columbia River Spring ESU
Coho - Unspecified Population
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 100.0%
Special:
None

Description: Page: Cover: Cover photo

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 1024 x 768

Description: Page: 4 Figure 1: Location of the Isqúulktpe Watershed, Umatilla County, Oregon.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 2550 x 3300

Description: Page: 13 Figure 3: Equipment used to mechanically remove blackberry in Isquulktpe Creek.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 600 x 350

Description: Page: 13 Figure 4: Blackberry patches immediately after mechanical removal.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 720 x 960

Description: Page: 20 Figure 7a: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 1. Photo taken from the east side of creek looking downstream (north), at 9:45am. Bearing from photo point to pole is 334 degrees. Photo A was taken in 2008.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 1430 x 1082

Description: Page: 20 Figure 7b: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 1. Photo taken from the east side of creek looking downstream (north), at 9:45am. Bearing from photo point to pole is 334 degrees. Photo B was taken in 2009.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 2048 x 1536

Description: Page: 21 Figure 8a: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 2. Photo taken from the east side of the creek looking upstream (south), at 11:00am. Angle iron is on an eroding grassy bluff, away from the edge in high grass. Bearing from photo point to pole is 246 degrees. Photo A was taken in 2008.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 1430 x 1073

Description: Page: 21 Figure 8b: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 2. Photo taken from the east side of the creek looking upstream (south), at 11:00am. Angle iron is on an eroding grassy bluff, away from the edge in high grass. Bearing from photo point to pole is 246 degrees. Photo B was taken in 2009.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 2048 x 1536

Description: Page: 26 Figure A1: A series of pictures from blackberry photo point number 1, view to the south. Pictures were taken immediately before and after mechanical control of blackberries and in fall, after blackberries had begun to resprout.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 720 x 960

Description: Page: 27 Figure A2: A series of pictures from blackberry photo point number 1, view to the north. Pictures were taken immediately before and after mechanical control of blackberries and in fall, after blackberries had begun to resprout.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P117193

Dimensions: 720 x 960

Description: Page: 1 Cover: Cover photo

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 833 x 625

Description: Page: 7 Figure 1: Location of the Isqúulktpe Watershed, Umatilla County, Oregon.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 828 x 1071

Description: Page: 13 Figure 2: Weed locations and survey transects.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 667 x 864

Description: Page: 15 Figure 3a: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 1. (2008)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 472 x 350

Description: Page: 15 Figure 3b: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 1. (2009)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 467 x 350

Description: Page: 15 Figure 3c: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 1. (2010)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 469 x 352

Description: Page: 15 Figure 3d: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 1. (2011)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 469 x 352

Description: Page: 16 Figure 4a: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 2. (2008)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 470 x 355

Description: Page: 16 Figure 4b: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 2. (2009)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 472 x 353

Description: Page: 16 Figure 4c: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 2. (2010)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 472 x 355

Description: Page: 16 Figure 4d: Viper’s bugloss monitoring photo point 2. (2011)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 470 x 355

Description: Page: 18 Figure 6a: Himalayan blackberry photo point 1. Photos taken before and after mechanical control of blackberries in 2009. (View to the north, July 2009)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 481 x 363

Description: Page: 18 Figure 6b: Himalayan blackberry photo point 1. Photos taken before and after mechanical control of blackberries in 2009. (View to the north, December 2011)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 482 x 363

Description: Page: 18 Figure 6c: Himalayan blackberry photo point 1. Photos taken before and after mechanical control of blackberries in 2009. (View to the south, July 2009)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 483 x 358

Description: Page: 18 Figure 6d: Himalayan blackberry photo point 1. Photos taken before and after mechanical control of blackberries in 2009. (View to the south, December 2011)

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 478 x 361

Description: Page: 20 Figure 8: Location of medusahead pilot restoration sites.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 609 x 788

Description: Page: 22 Figure 9: Location of native grass seeding in Himalayan blackberry treatment sites.

Project(s): 1995-060-01

Document: P125357

Dimensions: 785 x 1030

Description: Iskuulpa Watershed Project. In 2007, an "outrigger" fence was built around as aspen stand to prevent over browsing of aspen suckers by big game. This should allow the suckers to mature and the stand to expand.

Contract(s):

31108

Dimensions: 1600 x 1200


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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2023 - FY2025)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2023 Expense $313,776 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Umatilla Tribe (CTUIR) 2023-2025 Accord Extension 09/30/2022
FY2023 Expense $160,300 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Accord Transfers (CTUIR) 1/19/2023 01/19/2023
FY2023 Expense $160,300 To: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Accord Transfers (CTUIR) 4/18/2023 04/18/2023
FY2024 Expense $321,620 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Umatilla Tribe (CTUIR) 2023-2025 Accord Extension 09/30/2022
FY2024 Expense $176,894 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Accord Transfers (CTUIR) 10/4/2023 10/04/2023
FY2024 Expense $176,894 To: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Accord Transfers (CTUIR) 11/6/2023 11/06/2023
FY2025 Expense $329,661 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Umatilla Tribe (CTUIR) 2023-2025 Accord Extension 09/30/2022
FY2025 Expense $176,894 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Umatilla Accord Transfers (CTUIR) 11/6/2023 11/06/2023

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2024   DRAFT
Cost Share Partner Total Proposed Contribution Total Confirmed Contribution
Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) $8,500
Total $0 $8,500
Previous Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Total Contributions % of Budget
2023 $8,500 (Draft) 3% (Draft)
2022 $4,000 2%
2021 $6,510 3%
2020
2019 $13,470 6%
2018 $7,000 3%
2017 $7,000 3%
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009 $20,000 11%
2008 $3,480 2%
2007 $4,800 3%

Contracts

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
BPA-011119 Bonneville Power Administration FY98 Land Acquisitions Active $2,260,625 10/1/1997 - 9/30/1998
499 REL 1 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 COL BASIN FISH & WILDLIFE MITIGATION, SQUAW CRK WATER Terminated $608,677 5/1/2000 - 4/30/2001
110 REL 1 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 COLUMBIA BASIN FISH AND WILDIFE Terminated $200,275 5/1/2000 - 4/30/2001
6639 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 COLUMBIA BASIN F&W MITIGATION, SQUAW CREEK WATERSHED Closed $0 5/1/2000 - 7/31/2003
7514 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 ISKUULPA WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $451,572 6/6/2000 - 1/31/2005
21335 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) PI 199506001 ISKUULPA WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $130,635 2/1/2005 - 1/31/2006
26180 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISKUULPA WATERSHED Closed $140,435 2/1/2006 - 1/31/2007
31108 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISKUULPA WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $156,350 2/1/2007 - 1/31/2008
36562 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISKUULPA WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $188,025 2/1/2008 - 1/31/2009
40999 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISKUULPA WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $165,414 2/1/2009 - 1/31/2010
46092 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $166,000 2/1/2010 - 1/31/2011
51656 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT Closed $406,959 2/1/2011 - 1/31/2013
60770 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT (OPERATIONS) Closed $213,532 2/1/2013 - 1/31/2014
64530 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT (OPERATIONS) Closed $188,660 2/1/2014 - 1/31/2015
68412 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT (OPERATE & ENHANCE) Closed $160,338 2/1/2015 - 1/31/2016
71632 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT (OPERATE & ENHANCE) Closed $215,978 2/1/2016 - 1/31/2017
73982 REL 10 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED AREA: PROTECT AND ENHANCE Closed $205,751 2/1/2017 - 1/31/2018
73982 REL 26 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED AREA: PROTECT AND ENHANCE Closed $226,224 2/1/2018 - 1/31/2019
73982 REL 64 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED AREA: PROTECT AND ENHANCE Closed $226,068 2/1/2019 - 1/31/2020
73982 REL 89 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED AREA: PROTECT AND ENHANCE Issued $367,895 2/1/2020 - 1/31/2021
73982 REL 120 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED AREA: PROTECT AND ENHANCE Closed $210,993 2/1/2021 - 1/31/2022
73982 REL 152 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT: PROTECT AND ENHANCE Closed $157,051 2/1/2022 - 1/31/2023
73982 REL 181 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT Issued $313,776 2/1/2023 - 1/31/2024
73982 REL 204 SOW Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT Issued $321,620 2/1/2024 - 1/31/2025



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):19
Completed:15
On time:13
Status Reports
Completed:79
On time:44
Avg Days Late:3

                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
BPA-11119 FY98 Land Acquisitions Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/1997 09/30/1998 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6639 21335, 26180, 31108, 36562, 40999, 46092, 51656, 60770, 64530, 68412, 71632, 73982 REL 10, 73982 REL 26, 73982 REL 64, 73982 REL 89, 73982 REL 120, 73982 REL 152, 73982 REL 181, 73982 REL 204 1995-060-01 EXP ISQUULKTPE WATERSHED PROJECT Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) 05/01/2000 01/31/2025 Issued 78 219 0 0 6 225 97.33% 19
Project Totals 78 219 0 0 6 225 97.33% 19


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: 2017 Wildlife Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-NPCC-20210312
Project: 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Review: 2017 Wildlife Category Review
Approved Date: 10/13/2017
Recommendation: Implement
Comments: Recommendation: Sponsor to address ISRP qualifications 1-3 in updated management plan be end of 2018 (per programmatic issue recommendations in this Decision Document Part 1).

[Background: See https://www.nwcouncil.org/fish-and-wildlife/project-reviews-and-recommendations/2017-wildlife-project-review]

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-ISRP-20201110
Project: 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Review: 2017 Wildlife Category Review
Completed Date: 11/10/2020
Final Round ISRP Date: 6/28/2017
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria - In Part (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:

1. Clearly defined objectives and outcome 

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) have developed a program of conservation and restoration on 15,306 acres in the Isqúulktpe Creek watershed of the Umatilla River basin. The overarching goals and activities of the project are consistent with those found in the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. The Summary describes 17 aspirational or directional objectives for each of the three major habitat types (riparian, grassland, upland forest) being restored and enhanced, but none are explicit quantifiable objectives with explicit timelines for outcomes. The text indicates a new Management Plan will be produced in 2017 or 2018. This offers an excellent opportunity to develop a streamlined number of quantifiable objectives with explicit timelines for expected outcomes, monitoring and evaluation, and an adaptive management process. 

2. Sound scientific principles and method 

The Summary Report provides information on management actions taken since 2003, but using tables to summarize the extent of project activities would greatly improve communication of this information. The discussion of outcomes reflects consideration of scientific principles, but these are not explicitly stated. CTUIR has developed a vision of ecosystem services and the First Foods of the Umatilla Tribe and integrated it into the Management Plan for the Rainwater Project. The Isqúulktpe Project would be strengthened substantially by revising its management plan based on the Umatilla River Vision and related quantifiable objectives and timelines.

Project activities and some of the methods used to achieve project goals in each of its three habitat types were summarized. An important issue for the project is the re-establishment of native vegetation, particularly, perennial native grasses. Invasive non-native annual grasses are currently the predominate species in the project’s grasslands. The project performed a pilot study to test how effective three herbicide treatments might be on eradicating medusahead rye, a non-native, annual grass species. Results were not encouraging, and a new treatment is being planned. Re-establishing native plant species in a variety of habitats seems to be a regional problem. Restoration has proven to be difficult and ascertaining best practices may be beyond what a single project can accomplish. Clearly, university, federal, state, and other entities are engaged in this type of work. The ISRP believes it makes sense for these groups and for BPA’s wildlife mitigation programs to start formal collaborative efforts where multiple treatments could be evaluated simultaneously across the region. Standard experimental designs, using replication, and appropriate statistical procedures would help advance our understanding of the best approaches for re-establishing native plant species. The Council could play an important role in facilitating the creation of such partnerships. 

3. Monitoring and evaluation 

The Project monitors water temperatures, redd counts, bird communities, selected plant communities, and non-native invasive plants. M&E in upland areas appears to be focused on the distribution, condition, composition, and cover of native plant species. Monitoring the effects of project actions on fish is being conducted by another project, the Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project. The monitoring program has documented a doubling of the number of summer steelhead redds since the late 1990s, but there is no information on fish abundances. While salmonids are monitored, the Project does not monitor or assess the native fish community other than salmonids. Assessment of fish biodiversity on the property would strengthen the ecological understanding of conservation and restoration actions and serve as critical information for designing future actions. Monitoring data provide some suggestion that stream temperature in lower Isqúulktpe Creek have declined by 1-2°C following cessation of livestock grazing in the late 1990s. Use of reference systems for comparison and more rigorous statistical analysis would provide a better basis to assess this conclusion. The Project could develop explicit monitoring of the First Foods or indices of the First Foods and report them as outcomes and measures of both ecological and cultural success. This innovative approach could be a model for other groups. 

The CTUIR has developed a substantial M&E program. The Project has the opportunity to expand the monitoring program even further by working with local universities to encourage the use of their site by graduate students or field classes. Given the location between Washington State University, Eastern Oregon University, Whitman, Gonzaga, and University of Idaho, the project could present programs at the universities to attract useful research and monitoring projects. They could partner with citizen science programs in the region, such as Ducks Unlimited or Trout Unlimited. The managers know their sites very well and can use their education and outreach efforts to create ongoing partnerships to provide critical evaluations of the status and trends of critical objectives, effectiveness of their management actions, and unforeseen challenges. 

Another important management tool developed by the project is its weed management plan. Locations of nuisance species are identified and mapped using GIS coordinates. Eradication efforts have been guided by this information. Most impressive is the eradication of the extensive infestation of Himalayan Blackberries along the banks and floodplain areas of Isqúulktpe Creek. 

Information obtained from the project’s monitoring efforts is being used to modify how restoration is taking place. One example of this was the recognition of the value of aspen stands on the project’s lands. It was noted, that over-browsing by cattle or ungulates was inhibiting the regeneration of this habitat. Fencing was used to protect several stands and subsequent monitoring showed significant improvement in the growth and survival of aspen suckers.

Figures and tables at the end of the Summary Report documenting trends in resource responses (e.g. aspen sucker stems) were valuable and related to the text. What was not clear was the relationship between grazing / grazing intensity and the responses. Grazing leases were terminated, but grazing by trespass cattle and feral horses continued. The proponent’s approach is passive, and responses of vegetation will likely be slow. Results from the “baseline” monitoring work could be useful in establishing timelines and objectives for habitat outcomes. 

4. Results: benefits to fish and wildlife and adaptive management 

Maximum summer stream temperatures in lower Isqúulktpe Creek have declined by 1-2°C following cessation of livestock grazing in the late 1990s and numbers of steelhead redds have doubled. Counts of riparian-obligate birds and upland birds have not changed since the project was initiated. Attempts to protect aspen have not increased the abundance or distribution of aspen, though browse effects were lower in exclosures. Efforts to control medusahead have not resulted in changes in cover of this invasive non-native plant. Cover of Himalayan blackberry has decreased substantially in riparian areas as a result of control measures. The discussion of outcomes clearly identifies challenges and responses to invasive plants, but additional information on outreach and education would be informative. 

One of the key actions carried out by the project was to lease a range unit from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Cattle grazing on this unit, which covers most of the project’s lands, was stopped. Feral horses were also impacting the project’s grasslands. Over 400 were removed from the Umatilla Indian Reservation and a feral horse management plan was developed. Excluding cattle has increased riparian vegetation and may have contributed to a reduction in stream sediments. Even with this prohibition, however, trespass cattle were still observed impacting riparian vegetation. The project recently installed three miles of fencing in an effort to prevent future incursions of trespass cattle. Monitoring of riparian vegetation growth and the use of remote cameras will be used in the future to determine if the new fence has reduced the presence of trespass cattle. 

The project does not have a formal adaptive management plan.

Qualification #1 - Inclusion in Next Management Plan
The ISRP understands that the proponents are revising their Management Plan with a completion date scheduled for 2017-2018. This revision provides an excellent opportunity to incorporate an explicit adaptive management process that includes: 1. Clearly stated, quantitative objectives with explicit timelines. These should focus on a few major objectives that relate directly to the goal and desired outcomes of the Project. 2. Identification of M&E actions for each objective. 3. Linkage of the quantifiable objectives and timelines to observed monitoring information and provision of alternate trajectories and outcomes with explicit actions anticipated for each alternate trajectory.
Documentation Links:
Review: Wildlife Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-NPCC-20091217
Project: 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Review: Wildlife Category Review
Approved Date: 5/31/2009
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Accord Project. Programmatic issue # 2-3
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) - interaction between wildlife crediting and monitoring
Council Condition #2 Programmatic Issue: Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) participation funding

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-ISRP-20090618
Project: 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Review: Wildlife Category Review
Completed Date: 5/19/2009
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The sponsors’ response addressed the ISRP’s concerns. The sponsors provided a point-by-point response to ISRP comments, most of which were related to monitoring the effectiveness of the riparian habitat restoration measures that are being implemented at this site.

The response explains that the primary focus of the Iskuulpa Watershed Project is terrestrial habitat-based, and aquatic habitat and fish monitoring are not a responsibility directly associated with this project. However, these elements are being monitored by other organizations. Monitoring fish populations is conducted by the Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project. Aquatic habitat methods developed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were used to inventory aquatic habitat as part of the Umatilla Anadromous Fisheries Habitat Project. Coordination of the Iskuulpa Watershed Project with the natural production monitoring project and the fish habitat project is clearly explained in the response. The project sponsors are to be commended for the close coordination between their project and those teams that are conducting the riparian and aquatic work.

Trends in vegetation since the inception of this project have been monitored using only qualitative information including riparian photo points and observations of project staff. This information suggests that riparian vegetation is improving. Quantitative vegetative trend data are not available but are necessary to evaluate project effectiveness and inform adaptive management. Some remote-methods are available that can provide quantitative data on riparian vegetation. Infra-red aerial photography could be useful in monitoring shrub recovery in riparian areas with minimal field verification. Information also can be obtained from regular color aerial photography.

The sponsors note that HEP data collection is scheduled to be repeated in 2012, enabling evaluation of long-term trends in vegetation on transects established in 1999 and 2000. To be clear, the ISRP does not view HEP as a monitoring tool; HEP is an accounting tool for estimating mitigation credits. However, supplementary analysis of the field data collected for the HEP models can provide an indication of changes in some habitat conditions over time. Such may be the case with the vegetation transect data to be collected in 2012 for Iskuulpa. It is not clear if the established HEP transects are fully representative of the conditions occurring in the Iskuulpa watershed. If not, this deficiency could easily be addressed by establishing additional vegetation transects. These transects should be re-measured more frequently in the future. In particular, grassland transects can vary greatly year-to year with changes in precipitation. These changes can be orders of magnitude greater than any response to a management action. Therefore, determining effectiveness of a management action will require an understanding of the influence of precipitation. Once data has been collected over a range of precipitation levels (particularly spring precipitation), it will be possible to differentiate the response to project actions from those related to variation in climate.

Although a more rigorous scheme of vegetation monitoring will greatly enhance the ability of the project sponsors to determine project effectiveness, the ultimate measure is the response of the wildlife species that the project is intended to enhance. The ISRP encourages the project sponsors to consider including wildlife population evaluation of wildlife responses to the Iskuulpa project. Because of the expense of such an effort, it might be best accomplished by partnering across several projects in the region that are attempting to restore habitats comparable to those at Iskuulpa. The monitoring of wildlife population responses would be conducted at a subset of these sites, but all sites would apply similar treatments and vegetation/habitat monitoring. For example, such collaboration could be a very efficient way to begin to quantitatively address the broader issues of grazing effects on wildlife and restoration of terrestrial and aquatic habitats damaged by livestock.
First Round ISRP Date: 3/26/2009
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

This project is especially significant in that this watershed contains habitats of considerable significance for several species, including summer steelhead. Results from M&E efforts in the watershed should be reported, including: 1. a summary of vegetative trends; 2. more detail on survey methods for monitoring fish habitat to determine how sensitive to habitat change these surveys may be; 3. more detail on spawner or redd surveys of the fish spawning in Iskuulpa Creek; 4. more explanation of coordination with other projects doing M&E is needed. For example, relationship to the Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project 1990-005-01, could be expanded, e.g., explain the M&E plan and how benefits of activities accomplished by the Iskuulpa project will be quantified, and how the results of M & E are used to adapt to new, innovative habitat maintenance and restoration procedures. 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships The justification, significance and relationship to other restoration projects in the Umatilla/Willow Subbasin are appropriate for this project. The proposal asks for ongoing support to continue the implementation of a restoration effort being implemented at a watershed scale. This project is especially significant in that this watershed contains habitats of considerable significance for several species, including summer steelhead. However, the proposal did not present the results of their M&E efforts in the watershed. The justification for the project would be much stronger if this was provided. 2. Project History and Results This project was initiated in 1994, and considerable progress has been made since then both in terms of extending protection to additional lands through acquisition or lease and enhancing the quality of habitat on lands previously secured. Although the project sponsors do not have the budget to conduct a comprehensive assessment of project results, they have used the monitoring resources at their disposal to implement an effective program to evaluate the results of their restoration efforts in the watershed (see comments below related to the monitoring elements of the project). 3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods In general the objectives, work elements, and methods are appropriate for this project. Many of the activities for which the project sponsors are seeking funding involve the continuation of activities that are intended to maintain and improve project elements previously implemented. Continuing these activities is critical to the long-term success of the project. Maintaining fences, ensuring that noxious weeds are controlled and controlling recreational activities within the watershed are all necessary actions to ensure continued improvement of watershed conditions. The sponsors are encouraged to continue investigating new techniques to accomplish, reduce, or eliminate maintenance and operations tasks over the long term. The review team applauds the use of integrated pest management strategies and the use of local sources of plant materials for restoration activities. 4. M&E The M&E effort is very commendable, given the relatively low level of funding dedicated to this activity. Most monitoring of riparian and upland vegetation work is provided by fixed photopoints. This technique is appropriate for providing a qualitative indication of plant response. There also appears to be some quantitative data available on the vegetation from the ecological reconnaissance plots. A summary of vegetative trends should be provided in a response. The monitoring of fish habitat is based on results of surveys conducted in 1994 and 2008. Not enough detail was provided on survey methods to determine how sensitive to habitat change these surveys may be. More detail on survey methods and results should be provided in a response. More frequent re-surveys would be valuable to provide a better indication of how rapidly stream habitat responds to the application of a given restoration action. As one of the objectives of the watershed restoration project is the reduction of fine sediment and water temperature, it was surprising that some monitoring of these parameters has not been included. Determining temporal changes in temperatures and sediment levels can require significant effort, which may be beyond the monitoring resources for this project, but would be very valuable additions to the monitoring plan for the Iskuulpa Creek watershed. Spawner or redd surveys on the creek were mentioned only very briefly in the section on relationships with other projects. More detail on what these surveys have found regarding the fish spawning in Iskuulpa Creek should be provided in a response. More explanation of coordination with other projects doing M&E is needed. For example, relationship to the Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project 1990-005-01, could be expanded; e.g., explain the M&E plan and how benefits of activities accomplished by the Iskuulpa project will be quantified, and how the results of M & E are used to adapt to new, innovative habitat maintenance and restoration procedures.

Documentation Links:
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Interim funding pending wildlife o&m review.

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1995-060-01 - Isqúulktpe Watershed Project
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The proposal is well organized and written. The proposal clearly states the logical need to provide and maintain habitat in the Iskuulpa Creek Watershed that includes interior grassland, riparian wetland, ponderosa pine, and mixed conifer. Enhancements designed to address limiting factors to fish production, such as reduction of stream temperatures and fine sediment, are clearly explained and tied to the Umatilla Subbasin plan. Past results are documented with benefit to fish and wildlife noted.

The proposed project will benefit focal species. Biologically measurable outcomes are identified where possible. Monitoring and evaluation is provided by a directly related project. These benefits may persist over the long-term if human disturbances can be controlled. The project would benefit from a better discussion of possible impact of habitat restoration on non-focal species. Also, the project sponsor should identify the metric to be used for evaluating bird community response.

Sharing of personnel and equipment with other projects is commendable. Collaboration with others involved in similar projects outside the subbasin should be explored. Information transfer, in addition to annual reports, should be considered and described. For example, strategies for sharing successes and lessons learned with other teams in the region could be considered information transfer.

See ISRP comments on the "Umatilla Initiative" under proposal 198343600.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1995-060-01
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: O&M, acquisition of BIA grazing leases, for fish & wildlife habitat mitigation; assume requested funds consistent with terms of MOA.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-060-01-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1995-060-01
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
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Julie Burke Administrative Contact Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR)
Lindsay Chiono Project Lead Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR)
Eric Quaempts Interested Party Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR)
RaeAnn Oatman Administrative Contact Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR)
Daniel Gambetta Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Andrew Wildbill Supervisor Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR)
Peter Lofy Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration