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Project Summary

Project 2002-014-00 - Sunnyside Wildlife Mitigation
Project Number:
2002-014-00
Title:
Sunnyside Wildlife Mitigation
Summary:
Located in Yakima County, the Sunnyside Wildlife Area (SWA) encompasses approximately 4,914 ac along the Yakima River floodplain in the lower Yakima Valley and 5,741 ac of shrub steppe habitat on Rattlesnake Ridge in Benton County. The Headquarters (HQ), Byron, and I-82 management units (Units) are located on or near the Yakima River floodplain and adjacent to the Yakama Indian Reservation. The Thornton and Rattlesnake Slope Units are located on Rattlesnake Ridge north of Benton City, Washington. All Units are managed by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW). In addition to these lands, the SWA was “complexed” in 2001 with select parcels that were acquired under the Lower Snake River Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program. Although managed together as a single Wildlife Area, all O&M and enhancement activities on the Snake River parcels are conducted with non-BPA funds.

The SWA Units found within the Yakima River floodplain provide habitat for a host of wetland and riparian obligate wildlife species. The HQ Unit alone includes approximately 21 km (12.6 mi) of shoreline along the Yakima River, which supports ESA listed steelhead. In contrast, the Rattlesnake Ridge Units are dominated by shrub steppe habitat and are managed primarily for shrub steppe obligate wildlife species such as sage grouse.

Near term habitat enhancement, maintenance, and protection measures planned for the Sunnyside Wildlife Area include: seeding and maintaining herbaceous cover, controlling introduced weedy vegetation including Russian olive trees, enhancing wetland and shrub steppe habitat, increasing open water to cover ratios in lacustrine habitats, maintaining moist soil paddocks and fences, planting shrubs and trees, and enhancing waterfowl feeding and loafing areas. Two agricultural leases provide small grain production for migrating waterfowl, in addition to program income, which funds O&M and habitat enhancement activities that are not funded by BPA.

This project addresses habitat loss and degradation in two of the four focal habitat types listed in the subbasin plan (Table 1, page 6, Subbasin Management Plan Supplement). Those are Interior Riparian Wetlands and Shrub Steppe/Interior Grasslands. As stated in the Yakima Subbasin Summary, wetland and riparian habitats have been negatively impacted throughout the lower Yakima River valley due to:

1. Drainage of wetlands for agriculture and development purposes
2. Flood plain constriction through diking and damming
3. Livestock over-grazing
4. Loss of native plant communities such as mature cottonwood forests


These historic activities have also negatively affected the distribution and populations of wetland and riparian obligate wildlife species. Restoration of floodplain habitat is addressed by focusing on two primary limiting factors in the Subbasin Plan Supplement:

1. Restoring Surface and Ground Hydrology
2. Habitat Conversion and Degradation

The HQ Unit, I-82 Unit, and to a lesser extent the Byron Unit are located on the Yakima River floodplain. The Yakama Nation (YN) Reservation is located west of the HQ and I-82 Units. Limiting factors in wetland and riparian habitat are being addressed by WDFW and the YN in similar ways on their respective lands. On the three floodplain units (I-82, HQ & Byron) surface and ground hydrology is being enhanced by directing irrigation wastewater and return flows through historic oxbow channels on its way to the river. WDFW is currently working with the Port of Sunnyside and the City of Grandview to develop ways of using treated wastewater for further wetland enhancement on the HQ and Byron Units.

Habitat degradation has been offset in several ways. Grazing has been eliminated from wildlife area lands. Large-scale monocultures of Russian olive trees are being removed and replaced with native woody and herbaceous vegetation to increase habitat diversity and return the areas to historic conditions. Agricultural fields have been taken out of production and seeded to native cover. Shrubs and trees have been planted to widen the riparian buffer along the river. A significant noxious weed control program is in place, using mechanical, chemical, biological and cultural methods of control.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
2003
Ending FY:
2018
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau Yakima 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Bass, Smallmouth
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope
Freshwater Mussels
Kokanee
OBSOLETE-Catfish
OBSOLETE-Pikeminnow, Northern
OBSOLETE-Trout, Brown
OBSOLETE-Trout, Lake
Other Anadromous
Trout, Brook
Trout, Bull (threatened)
Trout, Rainbow
Whitefish, Mountain
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 100.0%
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

Cover photo

Figure Name: Cover

Document ID: P118184

Document: Sunnyside Wildlife Area

Page Number: 1

Project: 2002-014-00

Contract: 44887


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) $259,126 $259,126 $259,126 $334,687 $410,509

General $259,126 $259,126 $334,687 $410,509
FY2017 (Current) $259,126 $259,126 $259,126 $259,126 $255,286

General $259,126 $259,126 $259,126 $255,286
FY2018 (Next) $276,933 $276,933 $0 $0 $0

General $276,933 $0 $0 $0

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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $259,126 From: General FY16 Initial Planning Budgets - Expense 05/22/2015
FY2017 Expense $259,126 From: General FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016
FY2018 Expense $259,126 From: General FY18 SOY Budgets 07/17/2017
FY2018 Expense $17,807 From: General July 25th 2017 Transfers 07/25/2017

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Project Cost Share:

FY2016 36 %
FY2015 46 %
FY2014 23 %
FY2013 45 %
FY2012 31 %
FY2011 51 %
FY2010 45 %
FY2009 58 %
FY2008 75 %
FY2007 17 %
Fiscal Year Cost Share Partner Total Proposed
Contribution
Total Confirmed
Contribution
FY2015 (Unspecified Org) $1,000
FY2015 Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District $500
FY2015 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) $18,000
FY2015 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) $306,585
FY2016 (Unspecified Org) $1,000
FY2016 Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District $500
FY2016 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) $18,000
FY2016 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) $129,185

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
72958 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2002-014-00 EXP SUNNYSIDE WILDLIFE MITIGATION: O&M (ENHANCEMENTS) Issued $259,126 7/1/2016 - 6/30/2017
74314 REL 6 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2002-014-00 EXP SUNNYSIDE WILDLIFE MITIGATION: O&M (ENHANCEMENTS) Issued $259,126 7/1/2017 - 6/30/2018



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):12
Completed:9
On time:9
Status Reports
Completed:49
On time:18
Avg Days Late:13

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
25347 29532, 35036, 39269, 44887, 50354, 58977, 61734, 66603, 69568, 72958, 74314 REL 6 2002-014-00 EXP SUNNYSIDE WILDLIFE AREA Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 10/2005 10/2005 Issued 49 139 36 0 10 185 94.59% 3
Project Totals 49 139 36 0 10 185 94.59% 3


Review: Wildlife Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2002-014-00-ISRP-20090618
Project: 2002-014-00 - Sunnyside Wildlife Mitigation
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 proponents provided a nice summary of annual activities (restoration, enhancement, weed control, etc.). The choice of subprojects was adequately addressed and noted both scientific and opportunistic drivers, although wildlife management concepts such as connectivity and carrying capacity are also very important. The concern about salmonids seemed to be adequately addressed (both adults and young). Giffen Lake and possible dredging was shelved because of inadequate funds, which still leaves the issue unresolved and possibly getting worse. The ISRP agrees with the manager who rightfully states that the way to monitor wildlife responses is with a team that is specially trained to collect and analyze data. This would be more efficient and produce more accurate results. The response seems to indicate that WDFW "will be" putting together a monitoring team for multiple species on their BPA mitigation projects. It was noted by the sponsor that when a habitat project was monitored for success, he apparently makes a qualitative determination of, e.g., "sparse stand." Hopefully, the activity, specific field observation and response are recorded so that a learning process occurs about what works at each site. The quality of water entering the system was a concern to the ISRP and contacts have been made to evaluate the quality of water entering the system and leaving the system. The responses to the questions are positive and informative.

Schroeder et al. 2008, WDFW - Terrestrial Wildlife and Habitat Assessment on Bonneville Power Administration-Funded Wildlife Areas in Washington: Monitoring and Evaluation Activities, includes some coverage of Sunnyside M&E. Future proposals and annual reports should incorporate this information.
First Round ISRP Date: 3/26/2009
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:
This project is an important program with elements of major riparian and wetland habitats along the Yakima River with potential to benefit numerous focal species in terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic ecosystems. A response is requested on the following:

1. a summary table of how many acres (using current 10,538 acres), have been restored, purchased, treated for weeds, etc… arrayed by time.

2. is a scientific rationale for choosing subprojects - any kind of a habitat network plan or are they chosen on availability/opportunity?

3. are there conflicts between oxbow lake objectives and river reconnection goals for specific fish objectives?

4. original plans to dredge Giffen Lake have not been addressed, it is not clear if the Giffen Lake issue is resolvable by dredging, what will the "renewed attempts" involve?

5. M&E is extremely limited. As stated on p.26-28, several miscellaneous past surveys describe incomplete M&E and need attention, e.g., neotropical birds (only one year of data collected and exists in rough form). Establishment of breeding bird surveys is an important first step as baseline information which is key to gauging success of the habitat work and for linking wildlife population responses to restoration and enhancement. It would be useful to include the "secretive marsh bird" data in the proposal.

6. The statement on p.28 that "Habitat restoration projects are monitored for success, but not formally through the actual vegetative sampling process" needs some clarification as elsewhere in the proposal vegetation sampling is proposed (p.26).

7. The ISRP is concerned about the quality of water being placed on wetlands (it may or may not be a problem). Can this be addressed?

1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships
The sponsors have been consistent in their efforts to restore and enhance and are commended for their efforts to win back habitat values. The project has reached out to partners and co-sponsors to achieve results or resolve problems. The neighboring Yakama Nation projects have similar goals to the Sunnyside work although the Yakama Nation is depending on natural processes over large areas of the landscape for restoration processes whereas the Sunnyside Project relies more on expensive pumps and pipes to reintroduce and maintain hydrological processes. There may be a potential for more interactions between the two projects. They both face onto Yakima River and a common "reach plan" might be worthwhile.

2. Project History and Results
The sponsors present a history of the project on a land unit by land unit basis which helps the reviewers understand progress over the years. However, a summary table of how many acres (using current area of 10,538 acres), have been restored, purchased, treated for weeds, etc… arrayed by time would be a very useful addition to the proposal. It would also be useful to learn if there is any scientific rationale for choosing subprojects - is any kind of a habitat network in their sights or are they chosen on availability/opportunism? Are there conflicting objectives between oxbow lake work and goals to reconnect with the river for specific fish objectives?

In general, progress towards objectives has been satisfactory, with a few notable exceptions:

(1) Giffen Lake project was originally designed to control aquatic vegetation, reduce the amount of pesticide/sediment laden water flowing from agriculture drains, increase waterfowl production, and recover the resident fishery within Giffen Lake. BPA mitigation funds were originally planned to dredge Giffen Lake which has not occurred. It is not clear if the Giffen Lake issue is resolvable by dredging. No details are given on what the "renewed attempts" will involve. Perhaps it might be more ecologically responsible to let the lake fill-in and become terrestrial habitat. Based upon limited field trip observations, the lake now has low fish and wildlife values.

(2) Weed and Russian Olive control. The sponsors have a realistic view of invasive vegetation control and note it is a never-ending battle with present technology.

Seventeen projects are listed which is a good explanation of accomplishments, but it would be useful to learn how many are specifically related to BPA funding.

3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods
No specific comments.

4. M&E
The ISRP in 2007 was concerned about using HEP and HSI for M&E rather than effectiveness monitoring. Although some before and after photos and general observations of various birds and mammals were presented, M&E is extremely limited. As stated on p.26-28, several miscellaneous past surveys describe incomplete M&E and need attention, e.g., neotropical birds (only one year of data collected and exists in rough form). The sponsors note that there are no established breeding bird surveys on and near the wildlife area, and recognize that the establishment of breeding bird surveys is an important first step for obtaining baseline information. This task is a high priority for M&E since baseline data are key to gauging success of the habitat work and for linking wildlife population responses to restoration and enhancement. It would be useful to include the "secretive marsh bird" data in the proposal which was collected over several years by a volunteer. The statement on p.28 that "Habitat restoration projects are monitored for success, but not formally through the actual vegetative sampling process" need some clarification as elsewhere in the proposal vegetation sampling is proposed (p.26).

There is recognition that contaminant concentrations of pesticides and herbicides in water in the region often exceed allowable concentrations, but apparently no evaluation has been made of water coming out of the agricultural drain pipe and flowing into their wetland areas. The ISRP is concerned about the quality of water being placed on wetlands (it may or may not be a problem). This project has included construction of ponds and associated wetlands, construction of catch basins and culverts, installation of a lift pump, and installation of a pump to have moist soil management on 114 acres. The ISRP believes it is critical to first analyze the water coming out of the pipe from the agricultural lands for a series of contaminants used on the agricultural lands. Then, as a further evaluation, sample the water after it goes through the ponds and wetlands to determine any improvements in water quality (this could become a classic study). Washington Department of Ecology (perhaps Chad Furl) would be a good contact regarding water quality tests. This could also become a great thesis study at a university, which could perhaps also evaluate movement of various contaminants that bio-concentrate through the food web in the various ponds and marshes. A recent review of monitoring and assessing organic chemical removal in constructed wetlands is available in the journal Chemosphere 74(2009):349-362 and includes sampling designs and techniques. But, the most important phase is to determine what is coming out of the pipe.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2002-014-00-NPCC-20091217
Project: 2002-014-00 - Sunnyside Wildlife Mitigation
Review: Wildlife Category Review
Approved Date: 5/31/2009
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Programmatic issue # 1 (Two small non-capital acquisitions of inholdings). Programmatic issue #5b.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: New funding opportunities - expense
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2002-014-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2002-014-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: O&M on BPA-funded wildlife mitigation site; assume requested funds consistent with terms of MOA.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2002-014-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2002-014-00
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: 2002-014-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2002-014-00 - Sunnyside Wildlife Mitigation
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria - In Part
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The response on the monitoring, although generic, did indicate that they had a plan. Sponsors provided information about monitoring and evaluation such as noting that they currently incorporate standard Habitat Evaluation Procedures (HEP) and Habitat Suitability Indices (HSIs). See general ISRP programmatic comments on HEP; this shouldn't be emphasized as a management tool. In addition, for operation and maintenance projects before and after photographs document the progress and completion of the project. They also provide some general information about monitoring of various mammal and bird species of interest. They should be more specific on the site designs. In the future, ISRP wants to see the number, length, and location of the transects they used for monitoring and the results obtained from these surveys. Also in the future, the ISRP would like more specific information included in proposals or linkages to readily available documents that specify monitoring and evaluation information.

For Giffen Lake, they identify the problems with their first effort but don't describe how they will get around the problems. Thus, Giffen Lake is not scientifically justified at this time.

Not enough information is provided to determine if the restoration work planned for Giffen Lake is likely to be effective. Even with the fuller historical review of Giffen Lake, the ISRP was not able to determine if the sponsors will be able to dredge the lake with the current, proposed project. For instance, the ISRP understands that the springs on the north side of the lake may preclude using heavy equipment there and impact the ability to dredge the lake. The authors did not address how they will plan to proceed with dredging given springs on the north side. Re-reading the initial proposal and the "fix-it" edits, the ISRP understands that there is a pump in the lake (used to move water for moist soil management), but the sponsors do not identify the importance of this pump for dredging. Will the lake be pumped dry to allow dredge equipment access to the lakebed? The ISRP believes sponsors need to prepare a clear, detailed, thoughtful action plan for dredging this lake that includes a time table, equipment necessary, and where the equipment will be stationed at Giffen Lake to dredge. Sponsors should consider the sediment source and evaluate the possibility of managing sediment input first, before dredging -- e.g., a sediment pond at the intake.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2002-014-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2002-014-00 - Sunnyside Wildlife Mitigation
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: ISRP fund in part: in response, fund only O&M. Interim funding pending wildlife O&M review.

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Paul Dahmer Supervisor Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Cindi Confer Morris Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Robert Sak Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Chelsea Waddell (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Phillip Buser Project Lead Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Lisa Renan Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Brenda Aguirre Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Andre L'Heureux Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration