Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
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Project Summary

Project 2010-051-00 - Upper Columbia Water Quality and Water Quantity Gauges
Project Number:
Upper Columbia Water Quality and Water Quantity Gauges
This project fills key gaps in stream flow monitoring in the Upper Columbia by installing and operating three new gauges, and modifying one stream gauge at locations that have been identified as critical both for use by the ISEMP/CHaMP and the OBMEP, and for the design and monitoring of the intensive implementation of the highest priority habitat actions as part of the Yakama Nation habitat projects, the Upper Columbia Non-Accords Habitat Programmatic, and implementation of habitat actions for the Entiat IMW.

New gauges will be installed and operated by USGS in Entiat River below Tommy Creek (Entiat Subbasin), in Salmon Creek (Okanogan Subbasin), and in Beaver Creek (Methow Subbasin). An existing gauge near the mouth of Nason Creek (Wenatchee Subbasin), currently operated by the Washington Department of Ecology (WDoE) will be modified by WDoE as part of this contract to correct critical errors in the gauge at high flows.

Three of the proposed gauges, in the Entiat, Methow, and Wenatchee, fill gaps in stream flow coverage in areas monitored by ISEMP. The new gauges on the Entiat River at Tommy Creek, and in Lower Nason Creek in the Wenatchee Subbasin were identified because those locations are the focus of targeted intensive habitat restoration and protection efforts, and improved stream flow monitoring in those areas in expected to improve the ability to implement and monitor high priority habitat actions.

Low stream flows and high temperatures are primary limiting factors in many of the listed populations within the Upper Columbia. Two streams in particular, Salmon Creek in the Okanogan Subbasin and Beaver Creek in the Okanogan Basin, are particularly affected by low stream flows, and have been the focus of much work to increase instream flows, but do not have adequate stream flow gauging to assess the effectiveness of these actions, or progress in addressing the limiting factor. The proposed new gauges in those two locations are intended to fill that role. The proposed new gauge on Salmon Creek was specifically requested by OBMEP to support measurements related to instream flow actions in that stream.
Proponent Orgs:
Cascadia Conservation District (SWCD)
Washington Department of Ecology (Govt - State)
Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board (Non-Profit)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Basinwide - 100.00%
RM and E
Focal Species:
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
BiOp Association:

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Summary of Budgets

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To see more detailed project budget information, please visit the "Project Budget" page

No Decided Budget Transfers

Pending Budget Decision?  No

Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2024
Cost Share Partner Total Proposed Contribution Total Confirmed Contribution
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Previous Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Total Contributions % of Budget
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No Current Contracts

Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):0
On time:0
Status Reports
On time:0
Avg Days Late:None

The table content is updated frequently and thus contains more recent information than what was in the original proposal reviewed by ISRP and Council.

Review: RME / AP Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2010-051-00-NPCC-20110113
Project: 2010-051-00 - Upper Columbia Water Quality and Water Quantity Gauges
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-2010-051-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Fund (Qualified)
Comments: Programmatic issue #2.
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: RMECAT #2 Habitat effectiveness monitoring and evaluation—.

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-051-00-ISRP-20101015
Project: 2010-051-00 - Upper Columbia Water Quality and Water Quantity Gauges
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2010-051-00
Completed Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
Qualifications: The proponents should either revise the proposal or include in their annual report a description of how they will apply adaptive management within the project and a summary of the data collection methods and protocols as applied by the USGS and WDOE. The proposal needs the relevant information to make it a stand-alone project. Additional ISRP review beyond the standard categorical/geographic review is not needed.

The response adds needed detail to the proposal and significantly improves it. Greater detail on the background, need, and the process used to prioritize needed gauge locations was provided. An expanded description of current gauging efforts and gaps was added. Three of the proposed gauges fill gaps in stream flow coverage in areas monitored by ISEMP and with their input. The proposal was modified to show that no monitoring of toxics/nutrients or "water quality" beyond temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved gas and turbidity was proposed as part of this project (i.e., the standard dataset for gauging stations). Gaps to be filled by the stream gauges are appropriately identified, and the relationship of the new sites to existing monitoring programs is described. None of the historical WDOE gauges were chosen in the final four to be added, thus, there is no historical data to report in answer to the ISRP’s question. The adaptive management process adopted for the Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan is provided in the Technical Background, but the proposal does not develop these general properties into a specific description of how the project will apply adaptive management to learn by doing. The methods section is still weak. Rather than describe the methods of data collection, the proposal simply refers to the fact that processes have been established by the USGS and the WDOE, and that the new gauges will be operated using their methods, i.e., citations provided instead of methods descriptions.
First Round ISRP Date: 10/18/2010
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

There is insufficient information in this proposal to conduct an ISRP review, including the lack of describing an established need (identification of critical gaps), description of specific gaps to be filled, methods to be used, and assessment of benefits to be achieved from installing new gauges. For a requested budget of over $1M, much more detail should be provided. Water quantity and quality monitoring should be fully integrated into the habitat monitoring programs in the project area, not a stand-alone program. If these gauges are truly critical to addressing data gaps in these basins, the Integrated Status and Effectiveness Monitoring Program (ISEMP) and the Okanogan Basin Monitoring and Evaluation Program (OBMEP) and other monitoring programs in the region should incorporate them into their study designs. More information is also needed on the toxics approach. The Washington Department of Ecology (DoE) has monitored residues in resident fish throughout the state and can provide important background information on toxics in the various rivers, e.g., see Johnson et al. (2006) Washington State Dept. Ecology, Publ. No. 06-03-027, Olympia, 102 pp. 1. Purpose, Significance to Regional Programs, Technical Background, and Objectives This new project was designed to fill key gaps in stream flow and water quality monitoring in the Upper Columbia as identified by the Upper Columbia Watershed Action Teams by (1) restoring key DoE stream gauges that have been removed or abandoned, (2) installing and operating new gauges at key locations, and (3) deploying and operating water quality sensors at key locations across the Upper Columbia. Low instream flow has been identified in many streams across the Upper Columbia as a major limiting factor for salmon and steelhead. Reliable stream flow information is required to assess the status of instream flow as a limiting factor, and to evaluate efforts to address the limiting factor. Also, habitat restoration work often requires reliable local flow information as part of the design process. Although stream gauges are present, there are still many gaps in flow monitoring that need to be filled by this project. The project’s significance to regional programs is through the provision of data on flow and water quality in support of various Recovery Plan actions, including the IMW actions in the 2009 FCRPS Adaptive Management Implementation Plan. It would support monitoring and evaluation work conducted Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan. There was very little of the information required to conduct an ISRP review provided in this proposal. The technical background information was very brief and generic, and the objectives were essentially stated as fill critical water quantity and quality data gaps. No specific information was provided about these critical gaps or how these sampling sites will address these gaps. Where will the gauges be located? Why were these sites selected? Where are the sites in relationship to sample locations being used by other monitoring programs? The likely significance of this project to regional programs cannot be judged without a much more complete description of where sites will be established and what will be measured. Clearly, water quantity and quality are important aspects of stream habitat and should be key elements of any stream habitat monitoring program. However, these measures must be incorporated into a complete monitoring program to ensure that the information will be of maximum value. No information was provided in the proposal describing how the information generated by these gauges would enhance the habitat monitoring efforts being conducted through large, regional monitoring programs, like ISEMP and OBEMP. The technical background is quite general and focuses on M&E needs identified in various plans more than establishing specifics about the stream gauge system and critical gaps. High nutrient levels, low nutrient levels, high temperatures, sediment levels, and potential toxics have all been identified as general issues with respect to water quality, but more specifics need to be documented. 2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management One of the major objectives of this proposal was to re-establish a series of DoE stream gauges, prior data from these sites must be available. However, none of this information was presented. DoE flow sampling sites also often collect water quality data, also not included in the proposal. Data from these sites are characterized as meeting critical gaps in the proposal. If so, the data collected at these locations prior to their demise should provide some indication as to why they are considered critical. There was no discussion of an adaptive management process in the proposal. The proposal does not include a description of the existing stream gauge system or identify the location and number of gaps in the system or the length of time they have existed. It does provide a map showing existing gauges and priority 1 and 2 gauge sites identified by the watershed action teams, but without explanation of the criteria used or identification of the nature of the gaps that exist and why they are considered “critical.” 3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions for Type of Work (Hatchery, RME, Tagging) Other than a mention that the flow and water quality data would be useful to the ISEMP and OBEMP monitoring programs, no indication of coordination with these monitoring efforts was provided. Ideally, water quantity and quality data collection should be a part of a comprehensive habitat monitoring program. The ISEMP and OBEMP programs do collect some information on these habitat attributes. The proposal notes that the new gauges will supplement those of existing programs operated by DoE, USGS and USFS. This proposal implies that the flow and water quality data collected by these large monitoring programs is inadequate. But no discussion is included to support this point of view. Water quality monitoring under this project will be coordinated ISEMP and OBMEP. The proposal does not say how this coordination will work. It is noteworthy that the proposal mentions man-made toxic chemicals and seeks to support current efforts to monitor these potentially limiting factors in the Upper Columbia. Data will be stored in Status, Trends and Effectiveness Monitoring Databank so that it is available to all. 4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods The deliverables are simply characterized as the delivery of water quantity and quality data from the re-established and new sampling locations. There is essentially no discussion of how these data would be collected, analyzed or interpreted. Apparently, data compilation, QA/QC and archiving would become the responsibility of DoE. But as no information was provided regarding these tasks, an evaluation of technical adequacy could not be done. No information is provided about the location of the water quantity/quality stations that would be installed nor is there any indication of the type of flow monitoring equipment to be used, how the cross-sections will be rated, what types of water quality sensors will be installed or how often water quality samples will be collected. All this information is required to conduct a scientific review of the proposal. A section on study design does show a map of identified “priority 1” and “priority 2” sites, without much explanation as to which gaps they will address or criteria for assigning priority to a site. Methods are not described beyond providing a list of sites of previously published work on various methods. How will the data be collected, processed and analyzed? Metrics are listed as water quantity and quality variables to be measured, rather than performance metrics for the project. The metrics and methods are provided in a short table at the end of the proposal. However, this table appears to be inconsistent with the information provided in the text. The text of the proposal states that nutrient levels and toxic compounds are concerns in the study area and that information on these parameters will be provided through this project. This significance of toxics and nutrients to stream productivity is certainly true. However, the list of metrics provided in the table includes only flow, temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved gas, and turbidity. There is some indication that nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals or other key water quality characteristics would be measured. More could be mentioned in terms of what specific toxics are anticipated, i.e., agricultural pesticides near agriculture lands, metals in mining areas, and various personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and flame retardants downstream of wastewater treatment plants (especially in low flow rivers). Agencies and personnel to coordinate with would also be important to list so communications can get started, if not started already.

Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (11/15/2010)

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-051-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 2010-051-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2010-051-00
Completed Date: None
2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Rating: Supports 2008 FCRPS BiOp
Comments: BiOp Workgroup Comments: No BiOp Workgroup Comments

The BiOp RM&E Workgroups made the following determinations regarding the proposal's ability or need to support BiOp Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) RPAs. If you have questions regarding these RPA association conclusions, please contact your BPA COTR and they will help clarify, or they will arrange further discussion with the appropriate RM&E Workgroup Leads. BiOp RPA associations for the proposed work are: (56.2 56.3 57.1 )
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations ( 56.3 56.1)
Proponent Response:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Julie Morgan (Inactive) Supervisor Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
Joseph Connor Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Benjamin Zelinsky Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
James White (Inactive) Project Lead Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
Derek Van Marter (Inactive) Technical Contact Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
Kristi Van Leuven (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Donald Rose (Inactive) Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Mike Cochran (Inactive) Technical Contact Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
Kathleen Deason Administrative Contact Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board