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Project Summary

Project 2000-015-00 - Oxbow Conservation Area
Project Number:
2000-015-00
Title:
Oxbow Conservation Area
Summary:
The Oxbow Conservation Area was purchased as a high priority project in 2001 with BPA mitigation funds by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (Tribes). The Project has since received BPA annual funding for O&M as part of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Tribes and BPA.

The property is located in the within the John Day subbasin plan’s highest priority 5th Field HUC, Camp Creek, for Middle Fork subwatershed. The property holds a high concentration of adult spring chinook salmon through the high temperatures and low flows of the summer months, offers spawning and rearing habitat to chinook salmon, ESA-listed as Threatened Mid-Columbia summer steelhead and bull trout as well as access to the five fish-bearing perennial tributaries that come into the property from National Forest lands.

Past activities on the property severely impacted its habitat potential via overgrazing, dredge mining, invasive plants, and the clearing of trees and shrubs from riparian habitat. Since acquisition, the Tribes have been working to protect existing habitat, restore degraded habitat, and assess conditions within the property and its valuable fish and wildlife habitat. The Project will continue to follow the goals, objectives, and guidelines presented in the property management plan. Biological objectives for this Project target habitat for anadromous fish populations and other ESA-listed and sensitive species found on the property.

This Project will continue to address aquatic priorities outlined in the John Day Subbasin Plan:

•Protect High Quality Existing Habitat – achieved through various property O&M, education and outreach, riparian fencing, controlled access, monitoring trends, etc.
•Enhance Riparian and Instream Habitat – achieved through channel restoration of historically dredged and degraded streams, intensive riparian planting, adding large wood for habitat and stream complexity where needed, and controlling invasive plants in riparian corridors.
•Fish Passage and Habitat Connectivity – achieved through improving irrigation diversions, and replacing outdated fish screens. Improved passage to Ruby Creek will also be addressed through the channel restoration efforts planned for 2009.
•Flow Restoration - achieved through protection of existing water rights, removing juniper, careful use irrigation for riparian enhancement and groundwater storage, and monitoring of flows surrounding such usage.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Tribe)
Starting FY:
2000
Ending FY:
2032
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau John Day 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Chinook - All Populations
Chinook - Mid-Columbia River Spring ESU
Lamprey, Pacific
Lamprey, River
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS (threatened)
Trout, Bull (threatened)
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Rainbow
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

Cover photo

Figure Name: Cover

Document ID: P127044

Document: Oxbow Conservation Area; 4/11 - 3/12

Page Number: 1

Project: 2000-015-00

Contract: 56441

Oxbow location and land ownership in the Middle Fork John Day subwatershed

Figure Name: Figure 1

Document ID: P127044

Document: Oxbow Conservation Area; 4/11 - 3/12

Page Number: 5

Project: 2000-015-00

Contract: 56441

OYCC crew removing CREP tarps

Figure Name: Figure 3

Document ID: P127044

Document: Oxbow Conservation Area; 4/11 - 3/12

Page Number: 12

Project: 2000-015-00

Contract: 56441

Crews planting native shrubs on the OCA

Figure Name: Figure 4

Document ID: P127044

Document: Oxbow Conservation Area; 4/11 - 3/12

Page Number: 13

Project: 2000-015-00

Contract: 56441

Helicopter flying trees into work sites

Figure Name: Figure 5

Document ID: P127044

Document: Oxbow Conservation Area; 4/11 - 3/12

Page Number: 18

Project: 2000-015-00

Contract: 56441

Completed LWD along South Channel

Figure Name: Figure 6

Document ID: P127044

Document: Oxbow Conservation Area; 4/11 - 3/12

Page Number: 20

Project: 2000-015-00

Contract: 56441


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) $717,420 $897,096 $885,746 $885,746 $553,287

Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs $897,096 $885,746 $885,746 $553,287
FY2017 (Current) $458,664 $458,664 $458,664 $458,664 $725,740

Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs $458,664 $458,664 $458,664 $725,740
FY2018 (Next) $322,104 $322,104 $0 $0 $0

Post 2018 – Warm Springs $322,104 $0 $0 $0

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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $264,366 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Fish Accord Review 05/02/2008
FY2016 Expense $49,882 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Fish Accord project COLA 11/21/2008
FY2016 Expense $34,050 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2016 Expense $178,050 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2016 Expense $64,366 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2016 Expense $18,585 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2016 Expense $82,040 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2016 Expense $26,081 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2016 Expense $23,241 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Accord Budget Transfers (WS, CTUIR) 11/2/2015 11/06/2015
FY2016 Expense $40,117 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Accord Budget Transfers (Warm Springs) 12/17/2015 12/29/2015
FY2016 Expense $46,215 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Accord Budget Transfers (Warm Springs) 12/17/2015 12/29/2015
FY2016 Expense $70,103 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Accord Budget Transfers (Warm Springs) 12/17/2015 12/29/2015
FY2017 Expense $264,366 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Fish Accord Review 05/02/2008
FY2017 Expense $57,738 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Fish Accord project COLA 11/21/2008
FY2017 Expense $74,735 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2017 Expense $61,825 From: Fish Accord - LRT - Warm Springs Warm Springs Adjustments (8/20/15) 09/09/2015
FY2018 Expense $322,104 From: Post 2018 – Warm Springs FY18 Initial Planning Budgets (WS, CTUIR, YN, CRITFC) 7/18/2017 07/18/2017

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Project Cost Share:

FY2016 57 %
FY2015 43 %
FY2014 76 %
FY2013 9 %
FY2012 71 %
FY2011 39 %
FY2010 16 %
FY2009 30 %
FY2008 28 %
FY2007 47 %
Fiscal Year Cost Share Partner Total Proposed
Contribution
Total Confirmed
Contribution
FY2015 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration $133,079
FY2015 Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board $19,235
FY2015 US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) $200,000
FY2015 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) $8,479
FY2015 USDA Farm Service Agency $8,672
FY2016 (Unspecified Org) $70,000
FY2016 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration $237,704
FY2016 Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board $500,000
FY2016 US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) $300,000
FY2016 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) $50,000
FY2016 USDA Farm Service Agency $8,672

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
4037 SOW Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 2000-015-00 OXBOW RANCH MIDDLE FORK JOHN DAY RIVER History $381,075 3/20/2001 - 1/31/2005
21253 SOW Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs PI 2000-015-00 OXBOW CONSERVATION AREA History $117,385 2/1/2005 - 1/31/2006
26213 SOW Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 200001500 EXP OXBOW CONSERVATION AREA History $128,270 2/1/2006 - 1/31/2007
31864 SOW Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 2000-015-00 APP OXBOW CONSERVATION AREA History $196,552 2/1/2007 - 1/31/2008
68636 SOW Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 2000-015-00 EXP OXBOW CONSERVATION AREA Issued $484,555 4/1/2015 - 3/31/2016
75663 SOW Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 2000-015-00 EXP OXBOW CONSERVATION AREA Issued $448,664 4/1/2017 - 3/31/2018
BPA-009713 Bonneville Power Administration FY17 TBL Task Order Active $10,000 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):12
Completed:12
On time:12
Status Reports
Completed:50
On time:40
Avg Days Early:6

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
4037 21253, 26213, 31864, 36584, 42319, 46719, 51835, 56441, 60837, 64994, 68636, 72067, 75663 2000-015-00 OXBOW RANCH MIDDLE FORK JOHN DAY RIVER Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 03/2001 03/2001 Issued 50 212 22 0 9 243 96.30% 1
BPA-009713 FY17 TBL Task Order Bonneville Power Administration 10/2016 10/2016 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 50 212 22 0 9 243 96.30% 1


Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2000-015-00-ISRP-20130610
Project: 2000-015-00 - Oxbow Conservation Area
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal Number: GEOREV-2000-015-00
Completed Date: 9/26/2013
Final Round ISRP Date: 8/15/2013
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:

The sponsors provided an adequate response regarding the physical and biological monitoring related to this project, clarified the relationship between the various entities conducting monitoring on the Middle Fork John Day (project sponsors, ODFW, Middle Fork IMW), and described the data sharing that takes place among these entities. The sponsors’ present data suggests a positive response in fish abundance following habitat enhancement, but only one year of post-project data are available. The data are from three reaches within the project. The sponsors plan to continue to collect post-project data.

It is important that there be effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the effects of this very intensive habitat management project on invertebrates, fish, and riparian habitat within the manipulated areas. The sponsors need to be sure that the monitoring program’s objectives and overall design moving forward are adequate. There needs to be quantitative evidence that the objectives are being attained within a reasonable time frame and that the target fish are the beneficiaries of the actions. The projects are experiments and should be treated as such; each action requires a hypothesis. The data may be collected by others, but the sponsors should use the results of the data analysis to evaluate what is working and what aspects need improvement or alteration.

The sponsors indicate that there is difficulty in detecting fish population responses, but it is not clear why this is so. Even snorkel counts or minnow traps give data for comparisons. The use of regional status and trend data is not sufficient for detecting whether or not local actions are being effective. It would be informative to see the data collected on Chinook spawning (collected by ODFW) and on other components by the IMW within the property.

While considerable monitoring data were presented in the proposal, in future proposals the sponsors should (1) strive to improve the organization of the presentation of monitoring results; (2) provide more detailed interpretation of the data, i.e., not just a table or graph but an explanation of what the data are implying; (3) provide a better description of the design of the project monitoring program; and (4) draw general conclusions. This information is critical for the ISRP’s evaluation of the success of the project. The sponsors indicate that more effort will be placed on analysis of monitoring data and that a monitoring report will be completed by 2016. This prospect is encouraging and signals a commitment by the sponsors to M&E.

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

 

This project has a history of favorable ISRP reviews and many strong components. However, the ISRP requests a response of the following items:

1) Provide data to show how the past actions are affecting fish abundance or production.

2) Provide details on how this project fits mechanistically with associated regional programs. In other words, which project is responsible for what activities and how is the information shared, integrated and used?

3) Provide more detail on the status of the RM&E program, the specific role of cooperators in RM&E on the Conservation Area, and progress on data analyses and reporting. Details are provided in the narrative of this review.

In addition, the ISRP offers the following recommendations to improve the project. The sponsors do not have to address these recommendations in their response.

1) Develop an overarching restoration model that can be used to guide and integrate the activities. The sponsors need an overall description of how the project and other related projects fit into an overall model of restoration.

2) Develop a more detailed accounting of specific monitoring actions and analyses. The work is very intensive in a small portion of the watershed. Sponsors need to identify some measures within the restoration areas that will show a response.

3) Develop quantitative objectives and timelines that eventually can be used to evaluate success. Some specific 1, 5, and 10-year monitoring benchmarks for progress should be established for this ambitious, intricate project. It is important to specify what kinds of responses the sponsors are anticipating over these time frames.

4) Provide evidence that the proposed modifications to the stream/mine tailings will produce positive results. This evidence may include data, literature review or an adequate rationale to suggest that this action will be successful.

5) Consider alternative actions. For example, would the benefits to fish be greater if the funds were used for other actions over a broader area of the watershed, for example, to control water temperatures?

6) Considering that most invasive species are here to stay, develop strategies that address the presence of hybrid communities, that increase riparian shade to naturally repel invasive plants, and that only institute control measures for species causing extensive ecological harm to the river, such as knotweed does to riparian areas west of the Cascades.

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

The Oxbow Conservation Area was purchased in 2001 with the commendable goal to “protect, manage, and restore habitat in the Oxbow Conservation Area … to aid in the recovery of Chinook salmon and summer steelhead in the Middle Fork John Day River that supports culturally significant fish populations and other biota for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and secure access to these resources for its tribal members." Protecting and enhancing habitat is anticipated to benefit ESA-listed spring Chinook and summer steelhead and help maintain a sustainable harvest of fish for tribal members. The project sets aside a substantial amount of floodplain, riparian, and upland habitat. Habitat has been severely degraded, so substantial habitat enhancement work is needed.

A comprehensive Habitat Management Plan for the Forrest and Oxbow Conservation Areas was developed in March 2010 (a link to the Plan was provided in the proposal). The Plan has well-defined objectives, general approaches for accomplishing the objectives, a prioritized set of projects related to each objective, and a timeline for completion. That Plan should provide the context, direction, and justification for the work outlined in this proposal. A critical element in this review is whether the work is progressing according to the Plan, whether the sponsors have encountered any difficulties, and how these difficulties will be dealt with. An overview of the Plan in the Problem Statement section of the proposal would have helped set the stage for the proposed work.

The proposal would have been improved significantly if its objectives, deliverables, and timeline for expected results for the project were more directly linked to the Plan, making clear how the proposed work directly contributes to accomplishment of the Plan’s objectives. The objectives in the proposal could have been more closely aligned with the objectives in the Habitat Management Plan. For example:

Objective 1: At some place in the proposal the sponsors should have defined high quality habitat and discussed how it is identified, how much of it is available, and where it is located within the Conservation Area.

Objective 2: This objective is very broad in scope and encompasses at least four objectives in the Plan.

Objective 3: The proposal narrative implies a broad commitment to RM&E. The ISRP concurs that monitoring should be an essential part of the proposed work.

Objective 4: The ISRP concurs that a managed grazing program that both protects riparian vegetation and provides economic benefits is worthwhile, and it can serve to demonstrate to neighboring landowners that conservation values are not necessarily inconsistent with properly managed livestock grazing. The Habitat Management Plan describes in some detail a Riparian Pilot Grazing Project to be developed by 2014. The sponsors should have explained how Objective 4 relates to this pilot project.

Objective 5: The sponsors have put a lot of effort into outreach and education. This is one of the strongest aspects of the proposed work.

Objective 6: A practical necessity.

It would also have been helpful if the proposal had provided more information specifically related to fish. For example, what life stages would most benefit by habitat restoration in the Conservation Area? How much habitat will be created for each life stage and where is this habitat located within the Area? The Habitat Management Plan does not explicitly define quantitative goals for fish abundance and production; however, it would be useful for the sponsors to estimate the abundances of juvenile and spawning fish that can be expected to result from habitat enhancement. Results from fish surveys in “high quality” habitat may be useful in developing this estimate.

It is also important for the sponsors to discuss how they identified and prioritized potential habitat enhancement sites. Was the prioritization based on expected benefits of each project for habitat and fish? If so, how were expected benefits determined?

In addressing these issues, it would also be beneficial if the project sponsors had provided more background and framed their proposed and ongoing activities in terms of an overarching ecological-based model to guide and integrate the restoration activities.

Like most restoration projects in the Basin, this project is small-scale from a landscape perspective. The funds and activities are targeted on a short stretch of the river which has received major perturbations in the past rather than less intense actions at larger and better integrated scales. Therefore, the project by itself may not measurably improve basin-wide salmon conditions abundance as measured in a basin-wide way. With their current data the sponsors may not be able to tie any juvenile improvement to the habitat project. The ISRP suggests that it is important to have a way to assess if investments made in the restoration actions are having a positive outcome on fish abundance or production. The ISRP is concerned that because monitoring is very limited, the adaptive management process will not work as efficiently. Monitoring, when it occurs, is apparently conducted mainly by other projects and partners. The IMW work will work nicely in conjunction with this effort. However, the sponsors could also do some additional basic monitoring, with a well-crafted design, such as some electro-shock runs or minnow traps a couple of times a year.

Although the project may have some significance to regional programs and cooperation with other projects is indicated, it is not clear how this project fits mechanistically with those programs. In other words, which project is responsible for what activities and how is the information shared, integrated and used?

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

The sponsors have successfully implemented numerous specific projects. Photo points and some quantitative information on stream temperate suggest that improvement in riparian vegetation and stream habitat has occurred. However, it is difficult to evaluate the overall success of the project’s efforts to date. While some quantitative information on habitat and fish was presented more explanation would be useful.

It would have been helpful if the sponsors had used the Habitat Management Plan as a framework for structuring a discussion of accomplishments and results. One of the crucial questions that reviewers need to consider is whether the work to date is achieving the objectives set forth in the Plan. Results presented in the proposal should clearly demonstrate the progress that is being made. Several habitat surveys were conducted by various agencies in the early 2000s. The sponsors suggest that these surveys can serve as a baseline which can be compared to current habitat conditions to assess the effectiveness of enhancement actions. This is a viable approach for demonstrating progress. Data should be clearly and concisely explained and general conclusions drawn about whether the project is achieving its overall goals and its future needs.

A strength of this proposal is its excellent outreach and education program. The sponsors have gone to great length in enlisting the participation and support of landowners and other members of the public and keeping them informed of the project’s progress. The sponsors engage in many conservation-oriented programs and projects, including conservation education for children.

Past accomplishments and results are individually summarized in the proposal as follows:

  1. Establish Vegetation
  2. Install Large Wood Structures
  3. Phase 1 Mine Tailings Rehabilitation
  4. Phase 2 Mine Tailings Rehabilitation
  5. Build Browse Exclosure Cages Around Phase 2 Riparian Planting Zone
  6. Maintain Vegetation
  7. Information Sign Updating, Access Regulation, Hunting Program
  8. Project Outreach and Opportunities, Information Distribution
  9. Fish, Weather, and Habitat Monitoring

The text describing the accomplishments and results reinforces the need for an overall model or strategic plan guiding the research to assure that the collective actions are having the desired effect on fish abundance, survivorship or production.

In addition, information provided on 1. The Middle Fork Intensively Monitored Watershed Program 2. Data Gathering Conducted by OCA Staff 3. Bureau of Reclamation Reach Assessment 4. Caged vs. Browsed CREP Planting Study suffers from insufficient integration and analysis of effectiveness in terms of the stated goal. Further, information is given on Complete Grazing Season, Facility Maintenance, Dredge Tailing Restoration Design, and Install Fences. While relevant to the stated goal to restore Chinook and steelhead, connections are not made as to whether the information and actions are improving fish abundance, survival or productivity.

The ISRP suggests that beaver should be considered as an active participant in the restoration. What efforts are being made to include that natural ecosystem engineer in the restoration process?

The project has been ongoing for 12 years so data should be presented to show whether the actions are having any effects on salmonid abundance or productivity. The management plan calls for status and trend and effectiveness monitoring so analysis of data should be presented.

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

Project relationships (to other projects) are not easily understood. The sponsors appear to have a close working relationship with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The sponsors state that they use fish data collected by ODFW for project monitoring within the Conservation Area. It is not clear, however, whether these data are collected specifically for monitoring projects in the Conservation Area. The BOR provides technical assistance and assists with development of restoration project designs.

The Habitat Management Plan expresses a clear commitment to RM&E. The Habitat Management Plan broadly outlines the kinds of RM&E that will be undertaken in the Conservation Area including status and trends and effectiveness monitoring. Objective 3 and Deliverable 12 in the proposal explicitly call for RM&E. However the status of the RM&E program is unclear. The sponsors should provide an up-to-date summary of ongoing monitoring activities. Apparently several cooperators will be involved in conducting RM&E. The role of each of these cooperators needs to be clarified. For example, it appears that ODFW will be involved with monitoring fish populations. Is their monitoring program tailored to the objectives of CTUIR’s management plan or is it a part of a larger subbasin-wide program where fish sampling sites happen to occur in the Conservation Area? The sponsors also should clarify the role of the Middle Fork IMW in RM&E. The proposal needs more detail on how the independent monitoring efforts such as the IMW are providing results. Will the IMW design provide evaluation of whether the mine tailing restoration work is having positive results?

The sponsors should discuss how monitoring data from different cooperators will be compiled, who will conduct the data analyses, and when the analyses will be brought up to date. It seems that data analysis and interpretation are lagging behind other proposed work.

It was good to see climate change listed as an emerging limiting factor. The sponsors are encouraged to use the newer climate-hydrology models to prepare forecasts for the John Day River in terms of flows and temperatures for the coming decades (see, for example, Donley et al. 2012. Strategic planning for instream flow restoration: a case study of potential climate change impacts in the central Columbia River basin. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02773). The results may be revealing and could help guide the restoration activities.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

The Deliverables represent actions and activities that should lead to habitat improvement. They would be more meaningful if they were linked directly to elements of the Habitat Management Plan. The sponsors should provide the rationale for selection of the sites that will be enhanced.

DELV-1: Restore Mine Tailings Site. The restoration of the mine tailing work can act as a demonstration project. More evidence is needed that the proposed modifications will produce positive results. There are no data, literature review, or adequate rationale presented in the proposal to suggest that this action will be successful. DELV-2: Noxious Weed Control. The ISRP suggests that because many invasive species are here to stay, managers are faced with the emergence of dynamic hybrid communities going forward. It may be more effective to develop strategies that accepted the presence of some hybrid communities, increase riparian shade to naturally repel invasive plants, and only institute control measures for species causing extensive ecological harm to the river (for example, knotweed, to the west of the Cascades).

DELV-7: Grazing Program.This activity seems a bit peripheral to the goal of restoring fish abundance and should be carefully evaluated for relevance.

DELV-8: Reduce Forest Fuels.This activity seems a bit peripheral to the goal of restoring fish abundance and should be carefully evaluated.

DELV-11: Irrigation Ditch Efficiency.If the purpose of the project is to restore fish populations, why is water being diverted for pasture? This aspect should be carefully examined and justified, as it seems at odds with the stated goals of the project.

DELV-12: Monitor Fish and Habitat.This monitoring should include documenting hatchery strays on the spawning grounds.

DELV-14: Maintain Restoration Project: Timelines should be established beyond which the each restoration action becomes self-maintaining.

A professional publication (or two) in a refereed journal should be listed as a deliverable. It is important for large scale projects, like this one, to provide leadership in the broader restoration community

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/26/2013 11:49:18 AM.
Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (7/9/2013)

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2000-015-00-NPCC-20131125
Project: 2000-015-00 - Oxbow Conservation Area
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal: GEOREV-2000-015-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 11/5/2013
Recommendation: Implement with Conditions
Comments: Implement through FY 2018: See Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 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: 2000-015-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2000-015-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: O&M, M&E and restoration activities on BPA-funded wildlife mitigation; assume requested funds consistent with terms of MOA (note sponsor indicates that "as per memorandum of agreement with BPA, project funding is to continue for the life of the hydropower system.").

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2000-015-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2000-015-00
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: 2000-015-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2000-015-00 - Oxbow Conservation Area
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:
This is a well-prepared proposal that is making progress toward its well-stated and well-justified objectives. The Oxbow Conservation Area was purchased as a high priority project in 2001 with BPA mitigation funds by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (Tribes). The Project has since received BPA annual funding for O&M as part of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Tribes and BPA.

The Oxbow property is located in the Camp Creek 5th Field HUC in the John Day subbasin. The subbasin plan identifies the Middle Fork John Day River as the highest priority subwatershed for the John Day subbasin. The valuable property holds a high concentration of adult spring Chinook salmon through the high temperatures and low flows of the summer months in its deep pools. The conservation area offers spawning and rearing habitat to Chinook, summer steelhead and bull trout as well as access to the five fish-bearing perennial tributaries that come into the property from National Forest lands.

Technical and scientific background: The proposal contains good detail of riparian and in-stream problems requiring remediation and describes in some detail past accomplishments. A list of monitoring activities is presented and an M&E document is referenced. The proponents gave adequate responses to past ISRP questions and concerns. In particular, monitoring and evaluation on the Oxbow Ranch appears to be well coordinated with ongoing ODEQ and ODFW monitoring projects for the John Day basin.

This section contains a quite complete description of the Oxbow Conservation Area, including habitat conditions and context. It also contains material that would be more appropriately placed in the sections on project history, objectives and methods. The section on spring Chinook contains a statement that the fish are protected under MSFCMA, when the reference should be to ESA. The table on fish distribution should contain some citation to sources. Overall the section contains good description of the fish and wildlife species and assessments done on their abundance and habitat. Helpful photos are provided. A good description of habitat issues that need to be addressed by the activities proposed in this project is also provided: dredge tailings, fish passage, riparian trees and shrubs, non-native plants and forest health.

Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposal establishes good rationales and significance through linkages to the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program and to the John Day Subbasin Plan. The area in which Oxbow CAP is located is identified as the highest priority for restoration in the subbasin plan. Recovery strategies identified as highest priority in the subbasin plan are consistent with activities contained in the proposed project. The Oxbow CAAP has developed a draft management plan which is under review at BPA. Goals and objectives of that plan are reflected in this proposal. The proposal also notes links to the USFS and NC management plans for the Middle Fork John Day, with ODFW management plans, with the Grant County SWCD, the watershed council, and with Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi-Wa-Kish-Wit.

Relationships to other projects: The proposal lists several other projects to which this project is directly linked and with which it shares resources. A table identifies specific activities that are shared with other projects.

Project history: A history of project development and various funding issues affecting project scale is presented. This is followed by a description of project results by category such as habitat protection, fencing, planting, fish screening, etc. The project clearly has implemented a substantial amount of restoration work. It would be helpful to have a little more evaluation of what these actions mean in the overall context; e.g.; where is the area now relative to where it was, and needs to be.

Objectives: The proposal contains a number of biological objectives that link the subbasin plan and Oxbow CAP management plan. Several work elements are associated with each objective. The objectives are quite general in specification (e.g. "restore stream base flows) but contain a work element that is quite specific (obtain instream leases for water rights). Time lines are specified. Specific details are contained in the work element metrics (admin and budgeting section).

Tasks (work elements) and methods are broadly described, but seemingly appropriate. Several work elements are associated with each objective. Some of the work elements are presented in general, rather than specific terms (e.g. install fence) but do contain discussion that establish the intention, context and rationale in more detail. Other work elements (e.g. replace 4 fish screens) are specific and measurable. All work elements have specific time lines attached. The objectives and work elements cover a lot of ground and consist of reasonable activities, with reference to their motivation in management plans and to monitoring activities (e.g. the grazing plan, water conditions, fish counts, etc). Specific details are contained in the work element metrics (admin and budgeting section).

Monitoring and evaluation: M&E is conducted in a separate grazing management plan. M&E of project results for fish and habitat is also a separate work element. Data are collected and monitoring conducted on stream temperature, bird surveys, habitat condition, stream flow, fish counts, weather, etc. Descriptions of monitoring efforts contained in Section B provide additional detail of the type of assessment, monitoring and evaluation that is part of this project. It would be useful to see the Oxbow Conservation Area Management Plan to see how the monitoring is integrated to inform decision making on the area as a whole. There is quite a bit of monitoring laid out, but not very good indication of what they are looking for in terms of responses.

Facilities, equipment, and personnel: Facilities and personnel are well situated in place with strong ties to related projects. Also note cost-sharing with the Nature Conservancy and other institutions.

Information transfer: Good description of not only routine reporting to BPA, but also specific details on information sharing and coordination with other projects and agencies.

Benefit to focal and non-focal species is well described. Project restoration activities will provide realizable benefits to spring Chinook, steelhead, redband trout and lamprey. Habitat restoration actions will also benefit frogs, white-tail deer, mink, mallard, yellow warbler, black-capped chickadee and western meadowlark. It is reasonable to expect that these benefits will persist over the long term.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2000-015-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2000-015-00 - Oxbow Conservation Area
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Brad Houslet Supervisor Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Brian Cochran Supervisor Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Stephan Charette Project Lead Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Kimberly Upham (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Kristen Coles (Inactive) Project Lead Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
John Skidmore Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Eric Leitzinger Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Brenda Aguirre Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Luca De Stefanis Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration