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Project Summary

Project 2002-034-00 - Riparian Buffers in Wheeler County
Project Number:
2002-034-00
Title:
Riparian Buffers in Wheeler County
Summary:
This project will provide the technical planning support needed to implement eight riparian buffer contracts on approximately 150 acres covering an estimated 6-10 miles of streams as a two-year goal. One full time employee will be dedicated to the outreach and promotion of state and federal riparian programs in addition to the technical planning support needed to implement the eight riparian buffer agreements in this contract year.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Wheeler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) (SWCD)
Starting FY:
2002
Ending FY:
2017
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau John Day 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS (threatened)
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

No photos have been uploaded yet for this project.

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) $81,793 $81,793 $81,793 $81,793 $66,600

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $81,793 $81,793 $81,793 $66,600
FY2017 (Current) $81,793 $81,793 $81,793 $81,793 $53,202

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $81,793 $81,793 $81,793 $53,202
FY2018 (Next) $0 $1 $1 $0

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $0 $1 $1 $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 $81,793 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY16 Initial Planning Budgets - Expense 05/22/2015
FY2017 Expense $81,793 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2016 0 %
FY2015 0 %
FY2014 0 %
FY2013 0 %
FY2012 75 %
FY2011 68 %
FY2010 81 %
FY2009 76 %
FY2008 73 %
FY2007 87 %
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.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
72961 SOW Wheeler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) 2002-034-00 EXP WHEELER COUNTY RIPARIAN BUFFERS Issued $81,793 7/1/2016 - 6/30/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):13
Completed:10
On time:10
Status Reports
Completed:49
On time:13
Avg Days Late:25

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
9478 22514, 27274, 32853, 37793, 48554, 53596, 57972, 61873, 66433, 69472, 72961 2002-034-00 WHEELER COUNTY RIPARIAN BUFFERS Wheeler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) 05/2002 05/2002 Pending 49 97 13 0 41 151 72.85% 6
Project Totals 49 97 13 0 41 151 72.85% 6


Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2002-034-00-ISRP-20130610
Project: 2002-034-00 - Riparian Buffers in Wheeler County
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal Number: GEOREV-2002-034-00
Completed Date: 9/26/2013
Final Round ISRP Date: 8/15/2013
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:

See qualification.

Qualification #1 - Need to provide a reasonable plan/strategy to monitor the effectiveness of the restoration actions
The sponsors provided adequate responses to all of the ISRP's qualifications of the original proposal, with the exception of one item. The exception, and the reason for the qualification on this version of the proposal, is that the ISRP believes that the sponsors need to provide a reasonable plan/strategy to monitor the effectiveness of the restoration actions. This can be accomplished in cooperation with others (e.g., ODFW and OWEB). Further, it appears that much of the baseline strategy could be extracted from the SVAP process elements and used in the objective statements. This could establish a sound foundation for post project monitoring. The monitoring should include all fish species of concern (i.e., steelhead, Chinook, lamprey, bull trout), their food supplies (e.g., aquatic insects) and riparian responses to the conservation and restoration actions. It would be useful in future proposals for the SWCD to involve OWEB and their new staff person in planning a low cost assessment protocol. This work does not need to be expensive to implement. More information on monitoring progress and results should be provided in future reporting.
First Round ISRP Date: 6/10/2013
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

This is basically a good proposal, but the ISRP has some concerns. The following issues should be addressed in a response:

1) What is the strategy for improving enrollments in light of the recent low rate of enrollment and low miles protected?

2) Beaver can be useful ecosystem-scale engineers in riparian rehabilitation. How are they being used in this project?

3) The riparian actions should restore benefits to wildlife and should be quantified over time. What actions are being taken to acquire these data?

4) Does the fencing only exclude cattle or does it exclude native ungulates too? This will be important when active plantings are part of the restoration actions.

5) What provisions are being made to quantify the number of returning adult steelhead each year and the use of the streams by adult Chinook, bull trout and lamprey and their juveniles?

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

The purpose of the proposal is for Wheeler County SWCD to “provide technical assistance working with landowners and partner agencies to plan and implement riparian buffers to improve anadromous fish habitat in the lower John Day Subbasins.” They plan to establish riparian buffers on at least 50 miles of stream (10 mi/yr). Wheeler County believes that this project is important because it helps implement FCRPS 2008 BIOP RPA 35 and strategies to address limiting factors identified in subbasin plans and the Mid-C Steelhead Recovery Plan. As such, it supports other BPA funded projects in the John Day catchment. The staff involved appears to have adequate technical training and experience to accomplish the proposed activities.

The objectives are clearly stated and have quantitative goals and timelines. However, it is not clear how a goal of 24,900 adult steelhead in 25 years was determined. Further, there are no quantitative goals for Chinook, bull trout, or lamprey, which are all species of concern.

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

It is not clear how effective past actions have been in terms of improving fish abundance/productivity, instream habitat, or riparian condition. Few data are provided in the proposal – only temperature, EDT Riparian function ranking, and miles of stream protected by year – and none specifically address fish. Further the temperature and riparian data appear to be one-time measurements; no temporal trends are provided. Data need to be provided on these and other related aspects of the restoration actions to reveal trends over time. Also, the number of stream miles protected by the program has declined in recent years and are well below the 10 miles/year goal set for future years. How realistic is the goal for future years? An indication of landowners showing an inclination to adopt riparian protection would be useful.

Adaptive management could go beyond the project level where it is limited to site-specific adaptations for individual conservation plans. While each site may be somewhat unique, there are generalities that would apply to all sites; the adaptive management process could be better used to achieve overall program effectiveness. Hypotheses at the individual project scale or as a collection of sites could be used to rigorously test restoration actions and assumptions.

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

Wheeler County has developed a relationship with ODFW, but the details of that relationship are not especially clear.

It is refreshing 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

All seem adequate to meet the Objectives. However, provisions should be made to quantify the number of returning adult steelhead each year and, as well, the use of the streams by adult Chinook, bull trout and lamprey and their juveniles. These data will be essential in evaluating the effectiveness of the restoration actions.

A couple questions about the scope of the restoration:

1) Beaver can be useful ecosystem-scale engineers in riparian rehabilitation. How are they being used in this project?

2) The riparian actions should restore benefits to wildlife, and should be quantified over time. What actions are being taken to acquire these data?

3) Does the fencing only exclude cattle or does it exclude native ungulates too? This will be important when active plantings are part of the restoration actions.

Manage & Administer Project (DELV-8): Why is this a deliverable when overhead is charged on the budget?

Specific comments on protocols and methods described in MonitoringMethods.org

No comments at this time.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 9/26/2013 2:11:44 PM.
Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (7/9/2013)

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2002-034-00-NPCC-20131126
Project: 2002-034-00 - Riparian Buffers in Wheeler County
Review: 2013 Geographic Category Review
Proposal: GEOREV-2002-034-00
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 ISRP Qualification: Need to provide a reasonable plan/strategy to monitor the effectiveness of the restoration actions—See Programmatic Issue and Recommendation A for effectiveness monitoring.
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: 2002-034-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2002-034-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 1 - Appears reasonable
Comment: Coordination, conservation plan development to assist landowners in providing riparian buffer zones (via FSA/NRCS funding) NRCS authorized/required, but cost share appears reasonable.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2002-034-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2002-034-00
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: 2002-034-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2002-034-00 - Riparian Buffers in Wheeler County
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The SWCD projects as a group continue to be cost-effective approaches to leveraging a large amount of USDA money in CCRP/CREP contracts that would probably not be implemented without the funding of these development positions. The riparian buffer contracts have the potential for strong benefits to aquatic habitat, and so aquatic species, as well as to non-aquatic riparian species.

The proposal briefly but clearly describes the nature of the riparian problem and the need for private landowner cooperation. It specifically identifies how riparian buffers will address the aquatic habitat limiting factors identified in the John Day Subbasin Plan as well as the listing factors in the DEQ 303(d) stream segments in Wheeler County. Wheeler SWCD has developed, in collaboration with ODFW, and OWR, a map of passage barriers and habitat potential, and has used this map to prioritize riparian enhancement projects. This project has extensive links and collaborative efforts with other projects conducted through a number of different entities throughout the subbasin.

The proposal describes the project history in terms of what did or did not happen, but does not go beyond this to evaluate why things did or did not happen. The proposal would be improved if it presented the project history in more analytical terms, going beyond description to evaluation of why the position has been hard to fill, why landowners do not see it in their interest to sign on, and how to make it in landowner interest to adopt riparian buffer plans, etc. How was the 2002 enrollment target of 60 contracts developed? Why wasn't it achieved?

Objectives are linked to the focal species of the John Day Subbasin Plan and reflect components of riparian buffer contracts. They are measured in: # contracts, acres, miles. It is good to have these objectives quantified, but as with other riparian buffer projects it would be helpful to know the basis for these numbers, to understand how the SWCDs develop their enrollment targets or how these targeted enrollments relate to the total need.

The work elements are reasonable and follow NRCS protocols. The project will monitor riparian buffer implementation and the effectiveness of livestock exclusion. Monitoring and evaluation will also be conducted through the application of NRCS protocols, in which a baseline visual stream assessment is followed by subsequent periodic assessments to assess terrestrial change within the riparian buffer. The ISRP recommends that to more completely assess post-project results and effectiveness a cooperative effort be implemented with ODFW to also monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers.

The sponsors should clarify whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives? The issue of project data provision vs. USDA confidentiality requirements should be addressed.

The proposal mentions low rates of adoption in the last funding period. It would be useful to have the sponsors explain how these will be addressed in the next funding cycle. Will outreach and education be conducted in a different manner or target specific areas of concern, or reasons for non-adoption? Will the outreach and education effort have the information to identify landowner concerns, for the purpose of understanding and acknowledgement of reasons for nonparticipation, and to better identify how it might be made in their interest? Has the project learned from its history and is it able to modify practice to improve the number of CREP/CCRP contracts?

As with other riparian buffer projects the evaluation aspect could be enhanced by evaluating factors influencing enrollment (although this proposal is notable for having included some discussion of this aspect in the rationale section) and lessons learned from the development and implementation of these contracts. The ISRP recommends that the Oregon SWCDs work together to identify general findings as well as outcomes that vary by SWCD. The evaluation could identify ways to tie in outreach and education with landowner incentives and constraints. Additional thinking might be developed on how to target new audiences.

The ISRP requests a response clarifying the following issues identified in the review:
1. The potential to develop a cooperative effort with ODFW to monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers.
2. How enrollment objectives are determined.
3. Whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives?
4. The potential for SWCD collaborative development of a report assessing the determinants of successful implementation processes for riparian buffer contracts and other USDA voluntary conservation programs.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2002-034-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2002-034-00 - Riparian Buffers in Wheeler County
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Judy Potter Project Lead Wheeler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
Herb Winters Project Lead Wheeler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
Debbie Knotts (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Hannah Dondy-Kaplan (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Jenna Peterson Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
John Skidmore Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Jesse Wilson Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Brenda Aguirre Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration