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Project Summary

Project 1996-042-00 - Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish
Project Number:
1996-042-00
Title:
Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish
Summary:
Salmon Creek, a unique tributary of the Okanogan River providing cool water (northeast aspect) to a basin containing predominately warm water temperatures, contained renowned runs of anadromous fish in the basin (Mullan et al. 1992). Salmon Creek's greatest fishery value, however, was attributed to the excellent runs of steelhead trout and spring Chinook salmon which utilized the extensive spawning and rearing habitat in this watershed. Little doubt exists that the runs were of considerable size. Members of the nearby Okanogan Indian Tribe installed and operated numerous fish traps while local white residents took fish in considerable number to augment farming.

During the early 1900's Conconully Dam was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation creating a storage reservoir and a reliable water source for irrigation. A diversion structure constructed at river mile 4.3 disconnected Salmon Creek from the Okanogan River for the past 90 years and prevented anadromous salmonids from accessing historic headwater spawning and rearing habitat. Due to Salmon Creek's renowned historical use by salmon and steelhead, unique water quality characteristics and potential to strengthen summer steelhead in the Okanogan River Basin, the Colville Tribes have led an effort to reestablish flow downstream of the irrigation diversion dam which would allow access to quality spawning and rearing habitat by summer steelhead.

Beginning in 1996, the Colville Tribes initiated habitat evaluations and restoration options that became the premise of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). After the development of several alternatives, the preferred alternative, the construction of a pump station located along the Okanogan River lacked regional support. A less expensive alternative, which was evaluated within the DEIS, was a long-term (12-year) water lease and the construction of a low flow channel to maximize the amount of water obtained through the lease. During 2006, an Memorandum of Agreement between the Okanogan Irrigation District and the Colville Tribes was signed, to implement a 12-year water lease agreement with a minimum annual volume of water of 700 ac-ft.

Project work will continue in 2007 through 2009 as a result of BPA's 2007 Federal Columbia River Power System Fish Operations Agreement for 2007 operations, signed December 20, 2006. This project is planned for inclusion in BPA's new Habitat Updated Proposed Action (UPA).
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Colville Confederated Tribes (Tribe)
Starting FY:
1996
Ending FY:
2032
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Cascade Okanogan 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Chinook - Upper Columbia River Summer/Fall ESU
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS (threatened)
Steelhead - Upper Columbia River DPS (threatened)
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

Cover photo

Figure Name: Cover

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 1

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

Water flowing through the alluvial fan at the mouth of Salmon Creek (looking upstream).

Figure Name: Figure 1

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 4

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

Construction of mid-channel bar (October 2010; Woody Trihey, PE, pictured holding stadia rod).

Figure Name: Figure 3

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 6

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

“Reformed” alluvial fan at the Salmon Creek confluence July 2011.

Figure Name: Figure 5

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 9

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

Steelhead redds identified downstream of the Okanogan Irrigation District diversion dam based on surveys conducted on 5/2 and 5/5(OBMEP, 2011).

Figure Name: Figure 6

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 12

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

Rainbow trout collected at the outlet of the bypass from the Okanogan Irrigation District canal (CCT Fish & Wildlife photo).

Figure Name: Figure 7

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 14

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

Anadromous fisheries staff rescuing stranded fish in Salmon Creek. August 2011. Courtesy of Colville Confederated Tribes.

Figure Name: Figure 8

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 15

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459

Selected reaches of Salmon Creek surveyed to rescue stranded fish, assess mortalities and species composition, as a result of discontinuing the water release.

Figure Name: Figure 9

Document ID: P127395

Document: Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish Habitat; 8/10 - 7/11

Page Number: 16

Project: 1996-042-00

Contract: 53459


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) $458,264 $529,128 $529,128 $529,128 $76,767

Fish Accord - Colville $529,128 $529,128 $529,128 $76,767
FY2017 (Current) $435,711 $696,389 $696,389 $696,389 $83,739

Fish Accord - Colville $696,389 $696,389 $696,389 $83,739
FY2018 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

Fish Accord - Colville $0 $0 $0 $0
Capital SOY Budget Working Budget Contracted Amount Modified Contract Amount Expenditures *
FY2016 (Previous) $0 $0 $0 $0

FY2017 (Current) $0 $0 $0 $0

FY2018 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $350,000 From: Fish Accord - Colville Fish Accord Review 05/02/2008
FY2016 Expense $66,040 From: Fish Accord - Colville Fish Accord project COLA 11/21/2008
FY2016 Expense $42,224 From: Fish Accord - Colville CCT Budget cleanup (May, 2013) 05/29/2013
FY2016 Expense $158,244 From: Fish Accord - Colville CCT Budget adjustment (1990-018-00) 4/18/16 04/22/2016
FY2016 Expense $77,380 To: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT) 2/10/2017 02/10/2017
FY2016 Expense $10,000 To: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT, CRITFC, ID) 5/23/17 05/23/2017
FY2017 Expense $350,000 From: Fish Accord - Colville Fish Accord Review 05/02/2008
FY2017 Expense $76,441 From: Fish Accord - Colville Fish Accord project COLA 11/21/2008
FY2017 Expense $42,224 From: Fish Accord - Colville CCT Budget cleanup (May, 2013) 05/29/2013
FY2017 Expense $62,633 To: Fish Accord - Colville CCT (various transfers) 6/15/2015 06/30/2015
FY2017 Expense $45,394 From: Fish Accord - Colville CCT Budget adjustment (various) 11/17/2015 11/17/2015
FY2017 Expense $142,529 From: Fish Accord - Colville CCT Budget adjustment (various) 11/17/2015 11/17/2015
FY2017 Expense $158,244 To: Fish Accord - Colville CCT Budget adjustment (1990-018-00) 4/18/16 04/22/2016
FY2017 Expense $80,338 From: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT) 2/10/2017 02/10/2017
FY2017 Expense $77,380 From: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT) 2/10/2017 02/10/2017
FY2017 Expense $76,807 From: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT, CRITFC, ID) 5/23/17 05/23/2017
FY2017 Expense $10,000 From: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT, CRITFC, ID) 5/23/17 05/23/2017
FY2017 Expense $16,153 From: Fish Accord - Colville Accord Budget Transfers (CCT, Idaho) 5/25/2017 05/25/2017

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2016 0 %
FY2015 0 %
FY2014 0 %
FY2013 0 %
FY2012 0 %
FY2011 0 %
FY2010 0 %
FY2009 0 %
FY2008 0 %
FY2007 0 %
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.
Capital Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
14201 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1996-042-00 RESTORE AND ENHANCE ANADROMOUS FISH IN SALMON CREEK History $0 1/1/2003 - 12/31/2004
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
4871 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1999-075-00 SALMON CREEK WATER LEASING History $51,535 1/1/2001 - 3/3/2003
5094 SOW Okanogan Irrigation District 1996-042-00 OKANOGAN FOCUS WATERSHED, ON-FARM WATER CONS. History $0 5/1/2001 - 4/30/2002
6031 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1996-042-00 RESTORE & ENHANCE ANADROMOUS FISH IN SALMON CREEK History $1,421,568 1/1/2001 - 12/31/2004
7574 SOW Okanogan Irrigation District 1996-042-00 OKANOGAN FOCUS WATERSHED, ON-FARM WATER CONSERVATION History $84,000 5/1/2001 - 4/30/2002
9013 SOW Washington Water Trust 1996-042-00 OKANOGAN FOCUS WATERSHED WATER LEASING PROJECT History $119,263 4/1/2002 - 3/31/2003
58 REL 19 SOW Concannon, Kathleen A SALMON CREEK DEIS History $3,376 10/27/2004 - 12/31/2004
32613 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1996-042-00 EXP SALMON CREEK HABITAT RESTORATION History $95,054 4/16/2007 - 10/31/2007
35989 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 199604200 EXP SALMON CREEK HABITAT RESTORATION PHASE 2 History $119,920 11/1/2007 - 7/31/2008
38935 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1996-042-00 EXP SALMON CREEK HABITAT RESTORATION - CONST PHASE History $447,080 8/1/2008 - 7/31/2009
BPA-003837 Bonneville Power Administration TBL - Lands- Issues Active $3,050 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
BPA-004735 Bonneville Power Administration Restore Salmon Creek Land Acquisitions Active $204 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009
57344 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 199604200 EXP RESTORE SALMON CR ANAD FISH History $490,849 8/1/2012 - 7/31/2013
61640 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1996-042-00 EXP RESTORE SALMON CR ANAD FISH History $253,575 8/1/2013 - 7/31/2014
BPA-007300 Bonneville Power Administration Ruby Townsite Land Acquistion Active $0 10/1/2000 - 9/30/2001
73255 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 1996-042-00 EXP RESTORE SALMON CR ANADROMOUS FISH Issued $529,128 8/1/2016 - 7/31/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):11
Completed:9
On time:9
Status Reports
Completed:51
On time:12
Avg Days Late:19

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
BPA-007300 Ruby Townsite Land Acquistion Bonneville Power Administration 10/2000 10/2000 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
18419 PI 199604200 SALMON CREEK MASTER PLAN D J Warren and Associates, Inc. 06/2004 06/2004 Closed 2 1 0 0 1 2 50.00% 0
32613 35989, 38935, 43648, 48846, 53459, 57344, 61640, 65820, 69697, 73255 1996-042-00 EXP SALMON CREEK HABITAT RESTORATION Colville Confederated Tribes 04/2007 04/2007 Approved 49 65 5 0 10 80 87.50% 5
BPA-003837 TBL - Lands- Issues Bonneville Power Administration 10/2007 10/2007 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-004735 Restore Salmon Creek Land Acquisitions Bonneville Power Administration 10/2008 10/2008 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 51 66 5 0 11 82 86.59% 5


Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1996-042-00-ISRP-20130610
Project: 1996-042-00 - Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal Number: GEOREV-1996-042-00
Completed Date: 9/27/2013
Final Round ISRP Date: 8/15/2013
Final Round ISRP Rating: Does Not Meet Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:

ISRP Comments on the Specific Responses

ISRP Preliminary Comment 1. Significance to Regional Programs: The proposal needs to better describe how the project fits into regional restoration programs and the Biological Opinion. The proposal indicates that the project contributes to implementing BiOp RPA 34 and 35, but these are not mentioned in the significance to regional programs section. The proposal should provide explicit statements on RPA elements from the BiOp and restoration delisting under the Upper Columbia recovery plan. The presentation to the ISRP that showed the fish abundance targets for the subbasin, and for Salmon Creek for the recovery plan, subbasin plan, and tribal plans, is the type of explicit information the ISRP believes is essential to provide context and justification for the project tasks.

ISRP Comments on the Response: The additional information provided by the sponsor does not directly answer the questions posed by the ISRP and should be improved in future proposals. A sentence each is provided on RPA 34 and 35, but the text does not explain whether the actions in the proposal are explicitly identified in the RPA(s) and what the actions in the RPA(s) are. For example, the ISRP is under the impression that RPA 35 has a table 5 that gives improvement in survival assigned to habitat actions in specific tributaries. The ISRP believes this type of information is needed to establish the context for the project. Where the response cites the Recovery Plan and BiOp, details are lacking about the role that Salmon Creek would play in the recovery of steelhead. The ISRP understands the general relationship to the Recovery Plan and BiOp; it is the specific details that are requested. These specific details provide the basis for establishing quantitative objectives, monitoring and evaluation, and triggers to consider additional actions under adaptive management. Consequently, the ISRP believes the request is not just pedantic, but forms the foundation for guiding the project in the medium- and longterm. In the response to the ISRP, text is copied from a draft Okanogan Subbasin Steelhead Hatchery Master Plan. A portion of that text describes recovery plan standards for abundance and spatial distribution of steelhead in the Okanogan River subbasin. A succinct summary of those criteria and how the habitat restoration in Salmon Creek is intended to improve survival in Salmon Creek and contribute to achieving steelhead delisting is needed in future proposals.

ISRP Preliminary Comment 2. Technical Background (problem statement): The technical background provided in the proposal is very brief, but what is included suggests that a fairly thorough assessment of habitat conditions and fish distribution in the stream has been conducted. The proposal indicates that Salmon Creek contains much of the suitable spawning habitat for spring Chinook and steelhead in the Okanogan system. Restoring summer passage through the 4.3 miles of Salmon Creek below the irrigation diversion was identified as the second restoration priority in an assessment conducted on the Okanogan. The proposal makes an effective argument that water quality and physical habitat in upper Salmon Creek are worth the effort of restoring its connection to the Okanogan River during the migration (and irrigation) season.

The information that was presented in the proposal is sufficient to indicate that the habitat above the diversion is of high quality, supporting the high priority of reconnecting the upper watershed with the Okanogan River. A more detailed discussion of the results of the habitat and fish assessments that have been completed are needed to determine the opportunities for an RM&E program to assess response of the system to improved summer flows.

ISRP Comments on the Response: The response references a quantitative spawning habitat survey in 1995 and another survey in 1998. In addition, the response states “preliminary estimates of smolt production within pool tail-out regions indicated this 4-mile reach of Salmon Creek has the potential to produce more than 90,000 summer steelhead and 123,000 Chinook salmon smolts at a survival-to-emergence of 10%.” These statements suggest that existing habitat inventories are either over a decade old or contain considerable uncertainty. Periodic (every 1 or 2 years) habitat measurements will greatly assist project staff in determining the productive capacity of upper Salmon Creek for steelhead and Chinook, and also in identifying biological “hotspots” for spawning and rearing.

The response includes information from recent fish assessments (Fisher and Arterburn 2003, 2005) providing support for the sponsors ability to assess and evaluate the flow and channel for steelhead migration. As noted in other sections of this review, clear metrics for evaluation and links to recovery and BiOp plans are still needed.

ISRP Preliminary Comment 3. The objectives focus solely on recovery of summer steelhead. They provide a quantitative goal (Objective 2, return of 250 adult natural origin steelhead/yr). The introduction indicates that Salmon Creek also is an important spawning and rearing area for spring Chinook. Is the focus only on steelhead due to the fact that spring Chinook access the upper watershed prior to low flow becoming an issue below the diversion structure? Is there habitat below the diversion that would be improved by enhancing flow that could be valuable to spring Chinook?

ISRP Comments on the Response: Explicit answers to the two questions were not provided. The implication from the text is that the focus is on steelhead because they are listed and spring Chinook in the Okanogan are extirpated and not essential for recovery of that ESU, and that the volume of water for Chinook restoration (reintroduction) is not available at this time. There is text that states that spring Chinook are using Salmon Creek, but whether this use involves the low flow channel and leased water is not clear.

ISRP Preliminary Comment 4. The problem statement section of the proposal needs to include the TRT status review summary of recent abundance and productivity for the focal species, the near-term and long-term objectives under the Fish and Wildlife Program, BiOp, Recovery and Subbasin Plan, and discuss the extent to which those objectives are believed to be accomplished by continued implementation of the water lease.

ISRP Comments on the Response: Text in the proposal and the response provide much of the desired information. However some of the information remains in a general, rather than specific format and often without sufficient clarity. For example, in the response to the ISRP the sponsor answers the query by stating the BiOp population target is 500 steelhead in the Okanogan River subbasin and that all four populations must meet their targets to achieve the BiOp goal. But the four populations are not mentioned, nor are the targets for each of the populations. In this proposal the population of particular interest is Salmon Creek, but the overall context will aid in understanding the restoration in a subbasin level framework. The proposal goes on to state that Salmon Creek is considered a minor spawning area for steelhead and that the Colville Tribe estimates that 159 steelhead spawners are needed to achieve restoration objectives. If the subbasin goal is 500 steelhead, 159 in Salmon Creek would seem like a major, not minor contributor.

ISRP Preliminary Comment: During the site visit, the ISRP engaged in a discussion of the source populations being used to supplement and reintroduce steelhead to Salmon Creek. A paragraph or two in the problem statement should be added to provide a summary of the planning that has taken place in this regard. The ISRP concern is that steelhead from a population whose replication in Salmon Creek might contribute little to meeting genetic restoration objectives would constrain the full benefits of the project. An explanation is needed of steelhead population structure – independent populations, and major population groups – and priorities for obtaining stock for reintroduction or supplementation.

ISRP Comments on the Response: The text explaining the status of Wells Hatchery stock and the text from the draft hatchery plan given in response to 3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions provides sufficient explanation of the recovery planning at this time. The topic can be reviewed in greater detail if the draft master plan is submitted. The ISRP is curious whether this plan will replace the Cassimer Bar Master Plan that began review several years ago.

ISRP Preliminary Comment 5. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management (Evaluation of Results).

Accomplishments, Results: A paragraph in the proposal states, “Since 2009, there has been a conservative estimate of 662 adult steelhead which returned to Salmon Creek. This is a conservative estimate since counts are conducted via a video weir which becomes circumvented at flows in excess of 20 cfs.” This information indicates that there is an active program in place to assess fish populations in the Salmon Creek watershed, but no details about this program, or how it will be used to judge the effectiveness of improved passage below the diversion, was included in the proposal.

ISRP Comments on the Response: The response states that a primary metric for the project is the ratio of steelhead migrating and spawning above the point of diversion. The ratio of steelhead had been 2 fish spawning below for each fish spawning above in 2009 and 2010, whereas in 2011 and 2012 the ratio was 3 fish spawning above the diversion for 2 fish spawning below.

The ISRP believes metrics for the project need to be established, monitored, and used for evaluation and adaptive management. This important aspect of the project needs to be completed.

ISRP Preliminary Comment: The proposal needs to include succinct details on the video weir to enumerate adult steelhead and salmon, methods used to count emigrating smolts, survival of smolts to points downstream that is hopefully contrasted with other locations, a physical condition monitoring program for the channel, and to estimate the juvenile production and adult population generated by spawning and rearing in the eleven miles of now accessible habitat.

ISRP Comments on the Response: General information on the video weir is provided. Additional details are needed that provide evidence that the precision of estimates is adequate to guide management decisions on whether restoration standards have been met, whether additional flows and habitat is needed below the point of diversion, and whether continuation of the water lease is justified.

Adaptive Management:

The response to the ISRP provides adequate explanation of the state of adaptive management for this project. It is evident that the sponsor and various co-managers are engaged in longerterm discussions about the need for water and habitat for steelhead in Salmon Creek. Linkage needs to be clearly established between the decisions that will need to be made and project metrics and subbasin level M&E. The ISRP remains concerned that development of metrics for project evaluation is insufficiently linked to plans for data acquisition. The project has progressed to the point where a well-articulated decision framework would be useful.

ISRP Preliminary Comment 6. 3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions

ISRP Comments on the Response: The response provides improved understanding of the role of the hatchery program and OBMEP. The ISRP believes the hatchery program needs independent review soon and that an M&E plan for this project needs to be clearly established. The response states that OBMEP collects both habitat and fish data throughout the Okanogan subbasin, including Salmon Creek. However, the response goes on to state that OBMEP is currently proposing to estimate juvenile production in Salmon Creek. Assessing juvenile production seems essential to the ISRP. As stated earlier, the ISRP is concerned that project metrics, M&E, and adaptive management is proceeding in an ad hoc manner, and that the project has developed to the point where a more formal decision framework is required. The ISRP appreciated the hatchery program draft, as it clarified the status of anticipated artificial production for conservation and harvest.

ISRP Preliminary Comment 7. Deliverables, Work Elements: The work element and deliverable on the purchase of 1,200 acre feet of water is adequate. The work elements and deliverables on inspection and maintenance of the low flow channel are inadequate.

ISRP Comments on the Response: The response provides a summary of challenges with maintaining the migration channel and the approach used for inspection. The proposal should provide a description of a flexible inspection and maintenance plan that is justified.

Qualification #1 - An M&E and Adaptive Management decision framework should be developed within the next three years and reviewed by the ISRP
An M&E and Adaptive Management decision framework should be developed within the next three years and reviewed by the ISRP. The M&E framework should include an annual habitat survey of Salmon Creek above the low flow channel to verify that spawning and rearing conditions remain favorable for steelhead and Chinook; objectives for juvenile outmigration, adult immigration, and low flow channel habitat, along with metrics for each; a plan to collect the data to evaluate the metrics; and an adaptive management decision framework to guide alternative selection based on empirical results. The data being generated through the OBMEP program could provide a sound foundation for a very effective adaptive management process. The project sponsors should develop a framework with clear, quantitative objectives and specific sets of circumstances that would initiate changes in management approach.
Qualification #2 - Annual habitat surveys above the low flow channel are needed
Annual habitat surveys above the low flow channel are needed to establish that assumptions about the suitability of upper Salmon Creek for the two species are supported empirically. This is important for two reasons: first, because evidence is needed that adequate flows for fish passage continue to be the most important limiting factor in the system (and not some other environmental parameter), and second, because realistic adult escapement and smolt production targets require up-to-date data on habitat quality and quantity in order to help project sponsors set quantitative population goals that balance artificial and natural production. The response mentions the Intrinsic Potential of Salmon Creek, but calculation of the Intrinsic Potential metric must be based on current habitat data.
First Round ISRP Date: 6/10/2013
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

This project is straightforward and involves maintaining a low-flow bypass channel that restores the connection between Salmon Creek and its parent stream, the Okanogan River, as well as negotiating water leases and other agreements with the Okanogan Irrigation District that will increase flow in lower Salmon Creek and the bypass channel, which will improve conditions during the primary steelhead and Chinook migration period as well as facilitating the downstream passage of smolts. According to the proposal, Salmon Creek was historically one of the most important spawning and rearing tributaries in the Okanogan River system, but anadromous salmonids were extirpated when Conconnuly Dam was constructed in the early 1900s. Restoration of flow to the lower portion of the Salmon Creek drainage network during late spring and summer is clearly an important restoration goal for the Okanogan system.

The proposal, however, is incomplete and revision is required. It does not provide sufficient background context on the status of the focal species; benefits that are anticipated to be accomplished by this project including a timeframe for improvements in abundance; relationship of the project to steelhead recovery and delisting; and criteria for evaluating success.

The proposal incompletely describes the work elements to be conducted by this project. Additional detail on the specific actions that will be undertaken to maintain the low-flow channel and how they will be sequenced from 2014 to 2017 should be provided. Finally, a much more complete description of the relationship between this project and projects in the Okanogan watershed that are monitoring fish and aquatic habitat condition should be included in the proposal.

Responses requested: See each proposal review topic for questions to be addressed in the proposal revision.

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

Significance to Regional Programs: The proposal needs to better describe how the project fits into regional restoration programs and the Biological Opinion. The proposal indicates that the project contributes to implementing BiOp RPA 34 and 35, but these are not mentioned in the significance to regional programs section. The proposal should provide explicit statements on RPA elements from the BiOp and restoration delisting under the Upper Columbia recovery plan. The presentation to the ISRP that showed the fish abundance targets for the subbasin, and for Salmon Creek for the recovery plan, subbasin plan, and tribal plans, is the type of explicit information the ISRP believes is essential to provide context and justification for the project tasks.

Technical Background (problem statement): The technical background provided in the proposal is very brief, but what is included suggests that a fairly thorough assessment of habitat conditions and fish distribution in the stream has been conducted. The proposal indicates that Salmon Creek contains much of the suitable spawning habitat for spring Chinook and steelhead in the Okanogan system. Restoring summer passage through the 4.3 miles of Salmon Creek below the irrigation diversion was identified as the second restoration priority in an assessment conducted on the Okanogan. The proposal makes an effective argument that water quality and physical habitat in upper Salmon Creek are worth the effort of restoring its connection to the Okanogan River during the migration (and irrigation) season.

The information that was presented in the proposal is sufficient to indicate that the habitat above the diversion is of high quality, supporting the high priority of reconnecting the upper watershed with the Okanogan River. A more detailed discussion of the results of the habitat and fish assessments that have been completed are needed to determine the opportunities for an RM&E program to assess response of the system to improved summer flows.

The objectives focus solely on recovery of summer steelhead. They provide a quantitative goal (Objective 2, return of 250 adult natural origin steelhead/yr). The introduction indicates that Salmon Creek also is an important spawning and rearing area for spring Chinook. Is the focus only on steelhead due to the fact that spring Chinook access the upper watershed prior to low flow becoming an issue below the diversion structure? Is there habitat below the diversion that would be improved by enhance flow that could be valuable to spring Chinook?

Specific quantitative targets for steelhead adult abundance and juvenile emigration are absent. A summary of long-term biological goals and some time frame for achieving the goals are needed. The project has apparently established an intermediate term (12-year) lease for water to wet a constructed low-flow channel, but there is no indication of what is going to happen in the longer term (post agreement) and what level of natural fish production is needed to expand on this initial agreement.

The problem statement section of the proposal needs to include the TRT status review summary of recent abundance and productivity for the focal species, the near-term and long-term objectives under the Fish and Wildlife Program, BiOp, Recovery and Subbasin Plan, and discuss the extent to which those objectives are believed to be accomplished by continued implementation of the water lease. During the site visit, the ISRP engaged in a discussion of the source populations being used to supplement and reintroduce steelhead to Salmon Creek. A paragraph or two in the problem statement should be added to provide a summary of the planning that has taken place in this regard. The ISRP concern is that steelhead from a population whose replication in Salmon Creek might contribute little to meeting genetic restoration objectives would constrain the full benefits of the project. An explanation is needed of steelhead population structure – independent populations, and major population groups – and priorities for obtaining stock for reintroduction or supplementation.

Objectives: There are two objectives identified: (OBJ-1) restore instream flow in Salmon Creek; and (OBJ-2) Restore instream flows to Salmon Creek. The difference in deliverables is that Objective 2 involves the lease of water while Objective 1 includes the lease of water and maintenance of a constructed low-flow channel. For both objectives a description of how success will be evaluated is needed. These metrics need to include physical habitat and biological targets.

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

Accomplishments and results: Although the project dates from 1996, the proposal describes work on the bypass channel and securing the 12-year water lease agreement with the Okanogan Irrigation District since 2009. Results therefore pertain only to bypass channel construction and maintenance, and to extending the water lease to provide additional flow. In addition, the project sponsors wish to modify the bypass channel so it provides passage for adult steelhead at 10 cfs instead of ~25 cfs.

A paragraph in the proposal states, “Since 2009, there has been a conservative estimate of 662 adult steelhead which returned to Salmon Creek. This is a conservative estimate since counts are conducted via a video weir which becomes circumvented at flows in excess of 20 cfs.” This information indicates that there is an active program in place to assess fish populations in the Salmon Creek watershed, but no details about this program, or how it will be used to judge the effectiveness of improved passage below the diversion, was included in the proposal.

The proposal also states that hatchery steelhead smolts have been used to document adequacy of the channel. However, no data are presented and no explanation is provided on the specifics of the monitoring, numbers of hatchery steelhead juveniles or smolts released, and estimates of natural smolt production. Fish use of the bypass channel should be assessed, and estimates of adults in and smolts out (both wild and hatchery) are needed to evaluate the biological effectiveness of this restoration effort. Specifically, this project needs at least three elements for evaluation: 1) emigration of stocked and natural smolts, 2) upstream migration of adult steelhead, and 3) physical condition of the constructed channel.

The proposal identified that recent flows have damaged the channel that stocked smolts presumably left the system and returned as adults – with at least 600 adults returning in the past few years. Mention is made of a video weir to monitor adult passage. The proposal needs to include succinct details on the video weir to enumerate adult steelhead and salmon, methods used to count emigrating smolts, survival of smolts to points downstream that is hopefully contrasted with other locations, a physical condition monitoring program for the channel, and to estimate the juvenile production and adult population generated by spawning and rearing in the eleven miles of now accessible habitat.

Adaptive Management: The adaptive management section of the proposal simply indicates that changes in water releases from Conconully Reservoir and alterations in the release location of steelhead smolts have been implemented or are being considered. There is no indication that these changes were linked in any way to an RM&E program that indicated that these changes could be beneficial (although the water release issue arose because of damage to the low flow channel). This project would benefit from a formal adaptive management process.

Two instances of adaptive management appeared in the proposal with one appearing in the secondary focal species section. The first described altered water management to reduce damage to the bypass channel, presumably to streambanks, during high flow events. This suggests that project managers are not allowing the bypass channel to interact with its riparian area in a way that would mimic a stream's natural interaction with its floodplain. There may be good reasons for doing this, but we caution against taking a hard bioengineering approach to fish habitat in instances where natural meander processes can yield long-term habitat benefits. The second example is the institution of a sport fishery targeted at non-native species in Salmon Creek. This seems like a good idea as long as there is not excessive mortality to focal species.

Evaluation of Results

Result reporting is brief, so retrospective comments on the project by the ISRP are therefore incomplete. Water leases and low-flow channel construction have been achieved. Removing migration barriers is argued to have substantial potential to contribute to restoration of salmon because intact spawning and rearing habitat is available and salmon abundance and productivity response will be quick. Restoration of access in Salmon Creek could contribute to estimating the benefits from this action, but the data presented are insufficient to establish reasonable conclusions on when, or if, the project may accomplish the steelhead and spring Chinook restoration objectives.

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

Project relationships are not explained at all in the proposal. This omission is a substantial deficiency for assessing the effectiveness of this project. The proposal indicates that the sponsors are not requesting support for RM&E. But there are a number of RM&E efforts in the Okanogan system that are likely collecting information that would help to evaluate the effectiveness of reconnecting Salmon Creek to the Okanogan River, and which could greatly benefit this project. This expensive effort incurs ongoing costs for water purchase. Some understanding of the benefit being derived in terms of fish production would be very important to determine the value of investing in projects of this type. The proposal should have described RM&E efforts occurring in Salmon Creek that are collecting data relevant to this project and should have indicated how the sponsors intend to use this information to improve project effectiveness going forward by using an adaptive management plan.

This proposal indicates that emerging limiting factors are being considered in restoration planning. The proposal mentions that providing consistent access to Salmon Creek may help mitigate for increased water temperatures caused by climate change. Salmon Creek drains a watershed with a northeastern aspect and has significant spring input. Therefore, it exhibits water temperatures through the summer that are much cooler than those in the Okanogan River and could serve as a thermal refuge if access were possible. There may be little this project can do to address problems related to long-term climate change, but the observation that Salmon Creek maintains a temperature regime more suited to cold water species does reinforce the need to allow salmon and steelhead access to its headwaters. There also are a number of ongoing programs to address impacts from non-native fishes in the Okanogan River. Statements in the proposal about removing invasive species suggest that the restoration project has links to other projects that have not been included in the proposal.

While climate change, predation from invasive bass and brook trout, and instream flows are identified as emerging limiting factors, how they will be addressed through adaptive management is not discussed.

Few details about hatchery releases were given. The proposal does not state what the estimated carrying capacity for juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon might be in Salmon Creek. At some point such an estimate is needed, because as natural productions ramps up the number of hatchery releases may need to be ramped down.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Purchase of water for instream flow and maintenance of the low flow channel are the primary work elements. It appears that most of the requested funding for channel maintenance is basically for a contingency fund to repair damage should it occur. The ISRP recognizes that it not possible to specifically identify damage that will occur to the channel in the future. However, some explanation of the possible issues that might arise and the work elements and methods required to correct these issues should have been included in the proposal. A general description of deliverables and work elements is given, but the proposal lacked sufficient detail for scientific review. Specifying work actions and a timeline are needed.

Deliverables, Work Elements: The work element and deliverable on the purchase of 1,200 acre feet of water is adequate. The work elements and deliverables on inspection and maintenance of the low flow channel are inadequate.

Metrics: None are given. Monitoring and Evaluation is needed for this project, or linked to data and evaluation performed through other projects. The information provided in the proposal is inadequate.

Methods: None are provided.

Specific comments on protocols and methods described in MonitoringMethods.org

Not Applicable. No monitoring methods are provided; funding for monitoring is not requested.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/27/2013 9:08:24 AM.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/27/2013 9:21:30 AM.
Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (7/17/2013)

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1996-042-00-NPCC-20131125
Project: 1996-042-00 - Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal: GEOREV-1996-042-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 11/5/2013
Recommendation: Implement with Conditions
Comments: Implement with condition through FY 2018: Sponsor to develop an adaptive management process to be submitted to the ISRP for review by end of FY 2016. See Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 ISRP Qualification: An M&E and Adaptive Management decision framework should be developed within the next three years and reviewed by the ISRP—Sponsor to develop an adaptive management process to be submitted to the ISRP for review by end of FY 2016.
Council Condition #2 Programmatic Issue: A. Implement Monitoring, and Evaluation at a Regional Scale—See Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1996-042-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1996-042-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Water leasing and reconnection of stream to address impacts of irrigation dam; Bureau of Reclamation, irrigation district authorized required as well; needs cost share or other remedy.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1996-042-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1996-042-00
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: 1996-042-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1996-042-00 - Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish
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:
Reconnecting Salmon Creek to the Okanogan River is a worthwhile project that will benefit fish and wildlife. This is an excellent, well thought-out proposal. The proposal provides good information on habitat surveys and is well associated with the subbasin plan. Successful implementation will provide an estimated 11 miles of spawning habitat. This is likely to provide long-term benefits that will persist.

The ISRP was somewhat critical of this restoration plan early on, because of the lack of water in the confluence area coupled with the obvious need to restore access for anadromous fish through the grossly damaged lower reaches of the river, which were clearly impassable to fish. This proposal, which springs from efforts undertaken since our first reviews, has considered those problems and addressed them in a logical and comprehensive manner.

The previous ISRP review raised concerns about the potential benefit compared with the extensive restoration effort needed (and associated extremely high costs), which made this a not fundable proposal. (Insufficient benefit to fish.) In our previous review, the project sponsors estimated that about a potential of 280 steelhead and chinook could benefit from this project. This present proposal describes a reduced effort and addresses some of the concerns with availability of water in the stream and treatment of the alluvial deposit blocking passage at the mouth. This project might warrant a Three-Step review.

We rate this Fundable (Qualified) because of the non-technical question whether the funding of one staff member would be sufficient to supervise this rather complex construction contract. The proposal states that no facilities and equipment are needed. Apparently, this arises from the fact that the construction work will be arranged by contract with experienced contractors.

A more detailed description of the study design for the sponsors 10-year plan to monitor adult returns would improve the proposal. It is possible that M&E activities (e.g., weir construction) might affect non-focal species. The proposal would have been improved by discussion of potential problems.

The proposal would also be improved by a better description of information transfer. The administrative form lists "electronic" transfer, but there is no discussion in the narrative. We found no discussion of long-term storage of data.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1996-042-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1996-042-00 - Restore Salmon Creek Anadromous Fish
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund Pending Available Funds
Comments: Tier 2. Fund at a level consistent with ISRP comments, as funds become available. Sponsors should fund the water leasing portion of the project through the water entity project.

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Chris Fisher Project Lead Colville Confederated Tribes
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Kary Nichols Interested Party Colville Confederated Tribes
Michelle Guay Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Ted Gresh Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Randy Friedlander Supervisor Colville Confederated Tribes
Joseph Connor Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration