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Grande Ronde Basin Fish Habitat Enhancement Project Project No

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1 Grande Ronde Basin Fish Habitat Enhancement Project Project No
Grande Ronde Basin Fish Habitat Enhancement Project Project No Vance R. McGowan Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Funded by: Bonneville Power Administration Thanks ____ for giving me a chance to show off our work, and also for letting me be the first one out of the gates. I’m Vance McGowan, the project leader for the Grande Ronde Basin Fish Habitat Enhancement Program.

2 Initiated in 1984…. Our overall goal is to protect and restore riparian and instream habitat for ESA listed salmonids & improve natural fish production. Work is done on private lands. We prioritized our projects based on watershed assessments, & we work in streams where spawning and rearing occur or have occurred in the past. The project was initiated in 1984…

3 ODFW/BPA Fish Habitat Projects, Grande Ronde Basin
Enterprise Our project locations are shown in pink covering a fairly wide area, with concentrations in the Upper Grande Ronde drainage west of La Grande and in the Joseph Creek drainage north of Enterprise. La Grande

4 Limiting Factors High summer water temperatures Low summer flows
Loss of riparian vegetation Poor instream habitat diversity Loss of floodplain connectivity Unstable stream channels & sedimentation Inadequate fish passage The limiting factors we are addressing include…..

5 A Balanced Approach Combining…
Protection of habitat- using 15 year leases with private landowners Passive restoration- using fencing Active restoration- when streams are not likely to recover in an acceptable time frame (includes plantings, instream structures or natural channel designs) We believe we are using a balanced approach that includes…..(Read List)

6 Floodplain Tail seep 72 deg F
Habitat Limiting Factors: High Summer Stream Temperatures, Low Summer Flows, Poor Riparian Vegetation, Poor Instream Habitat, Wide & Shallow Channel, Loss of Floodplain Due to Old Railroad Grade….. So I would like to run you through one of our newer projects on a typical degraded Eastern Oregon stream. This is a pre-project photopoint of Meadow Creek in 1998 which exhibits nearly all of the limiting factors I just mentioned. Stumps along the banks are evidence of over-logging, and if I could zoom in closer you might see some those “telltale organic frisbees” left behind by cattle that had severely overgrazed the steam. I’d also to draw your attention to the Floodplain tail seep in the lower left (click)- some of the research by Joe Ebersole Oregon State Univ. helped us learn to identify these. They are formed by water flowing subsurface through point bars (click), then resurfacing at the downstream end, often in small pockets (click), and in this case it was 12 degrees cooler. 84 deg F !! Floodplain Tail seep Meadow Cr. Ppt 6, Pre-project,1998 72 deg F

7 Salmonids seek out cooler water…
over 90 Rb/St concentrated in a “coldwater” seep (72 F),1 square meter in area, 3 inches deep Good news is that fish are able to travel good distances to find these refuge areas, and we had about 90 fish in this small pocket, but bad news is …

8 However…. Out of the frying pan into the fire
However….Out of the frying pan into the fire! High Stress and Mortality from overcrowding, lack of cover, and predation. Free lunch for a Garter snake eating a juvenile steelhead But often the bad news is we have an “Out of the frying pan into the fire situation”, where fish suffer from high stress and mortality, and in this case a pair of garter snakes had pretty easy pickings.

9 Before….. Meadow Cr, Ppt 6 1998 84 deg F 72 deg F
So here again is the pre-project photo……and here is how we addressed the problems. Meadow Cr, Ppt 72 deg F

10 3 years later…limiting factors were addressed using fencing, large wood additions, natural regeneration, conifer plantings. (ODFW, CTUIR, NRCS,GRMWP project) Plantings Natural Regeneration Fencing LWD 3 years later with help from the Confederated tribes, NRCS, and the GRMWP we installed Fencing, Large whole tree placements (note how we placed this one in the cold seep to provide instream cover for those fish), Natural regeneration is progressing nicely, and we planted conifers to replace those previously logged. Meadow Cr. Ppt 6, 2001

11 Removal of old RR grade, 1998 Here is a picture shortly after we removed 1300 ft. of old railroad grade that in many places prevented interaction with the floodplain.

12 Hillslope to hillslope protection.
Old railroad Exclosure Fences And again 3 years later. I also wanted to point out that many landowners are tired of watching fences get blown out by large floods. This landowner let us build a corridor fence that averaged over 600 ft. wide so we truly have hillslope to hillslope protection.

13 ODFW, CTUIR and Salmon Corps planted over 10,000 conifers on this project.
(Read title) and hanks to CTUIR who watered them for two summers we had about 50% survival on these plants.

14 Large Wood provides complex habitat = Fish Magnets
We installed 105 whole trees in a 2 mile reach of this stream. Our snorkel surveys indicate almost immediate use of this type of habitat once it becomes available.

15 Chesnimnus Creek, 8 years recovery
1992 One more example of a Wallowa County stream with a few more years of recovery. This braided, high sediment stream now is a single thread channel with a nice young canopy beginning to develop. 2000

16 Solar Powered Off-channel water sources.
When working with landowners we frequently try to provide off-channel water to reduce livestock pressure on riparian areas. We pioneered the use of solar pumps in our area into tap groundwater sources, and in this case we are able to pump water uphill to the troughs you see in the background.

17 Milk Creek Natural Channel Design Project, July 2001, (Shortly before water transfer)
Riparian fence 1250 ft. of new channel, Rosgen C4 This is an aerial photo of Milk Creek that you drove by on your tour and illustrates a much more active restoration approach. BPA spent quite a bit of money sending me to all 4 levels of Rosgen training, and here I had an opportunity to put that training to use. The two main problems here were an old culvert that our snorkel and electroshocking counts clearly showed prevented chinook passage at the lower end, and 800 feet of stream in poor condition that ran along the highway barrow ditch. To solve these problems we installed riparian fence, constructed 1250 feet of a Rosgen C4 stream channel, and installed a new 5x10 ft box culvert. New 5’x10’ Culvert Highway 203 Ditch Catherine Creek

18 Milk Creek, highway ditch, 85% riffle sinousity = 1.02
This was the pre-project condition…..high % of riffles and sinousity very low.

19 Newly constructed channel, November 2000
Here is the newly constructed channel last fall. All of the stream features such as pools, riffles, runs and glides were surveyed in with a laser level. We also seeded the bare soil, and planted the bankfull areas with sedges and willows.

20 August 2001, two weeks after water added.
Believe it or not..this was only 8 months later. We had a high revegetation rate because we were able to set up an irrigation system all summer. We were extremely pleased we could complete this project in less than one year.

21 Milk Creek, July 2001- New Culvert and Water Transfer
Here’s the lower end where ODOT replaced the old culvert with 5x10 ft box culvert, just as we turned on the water. The department of Forestry folks brought in Sammy the Salmon so we could show we could double the numbers of returning adults in this stream….but seriously we did have juvenile chinook and steelhead move into the new channel only 5 days later. An interagency project by Eastern Oregon University/Hall Ranch, ODFW, Oregon State Forestry, Oregon Dept. of Transportation, OWEB

22 Old methods die hard…Bear Cr. 2000
This is an example of how not to fix a deeply incised channel. Obviously we have fish passage problem here throughout the summer and fall as water percolates underneath the set of 21 log weirs. The guy in the center of the photo was asking me what the heck we should do with this mess, and we believe this one qualifies for another channel relocation project.

23 Longley Meadows Project Planning, 2001
Bear Cr. Alternative #1, Channel Realignment Jordan Cr. So there’s Bear Creek in ditch-like condition in the center of the photo, and one of the proposed alternatives that closely follows the 1936 channel. We used color InfraRed to help identify all the wonderful wetland complexes and tributaries, and this work is tied in closely with other projects by the CTUIR, NRCS & USFS on GRR and Jordan Creek— We want to reestablish connectivity between all of these streams, wetlands and the mainstem GRR. Old RR grade Grande Ronde R. Cooperative projects with Cunha Ranches, ODFW, CTUIR, GRMWP, NRCS, USFS

24 Project Monitoring Ongoing New Photopoints Transects
Stream Temperatures Biological Surveys (Redds, Juvenile Population Estimates, plant growth/survival) Rosgen Levels II-IV Streambank Stability, Undercuts, and Overhanging Vegetation (EPA) ODFW Aquatic Inventory (LWD, pools) Additional photopoints of instream work Here is a list of ongoing or newly proposed monitoring that we would like to do. I don’t have time to go over the details which are included in my proposal, but I want to point out that we coordinate closely with some of the other people listed at the bottom who are doing tier 2 level monitoring. Coordinate with other agencies- Oregon State University, Pacific Northwest Research Lab, ODFW/La Grande Research, ODEQ, EPA, etc.

25 Project Milestones: Monitored improvements in stream health (shade, temperature, W/D ratios, & No. pools, etc.) Signed lease agreements on 42 projects Constructed 106 miles of exclosure fences, protecting 62 miles of critical listed salmonid habitat Planted 97,000 trees and shrubs Constructed 32 offsite water systems,and installed 2,900 instream structures Working cooperatively we used “State of the art” natural channel design on 5 miles of streams Continued maintenance/monitoring of all projects Here are some of our project milestones (Read list). And finally regarding the last bullet, I think it’s very important that you understand that all of the 42 projects are implemented using written agreements with landowners, and a big part of our commitment to them is the continued maintenance and monitoring of these projects. Funding of this program is just as important to these landowners as it is to us.

26 We have ready and willing landowners!
New & Ongoing Projects Longley Meadows/Cunha Ranches: Bear Creek, Jordan Creek, Grande Ronde River & wetlands complex Wallowa River/Scott: fencing and instream Wallowa River/Baker: fencing and instream Ladd Creek/LMWA: natural channel design Rock, Sheep & Graves creeks: road relocation, fencing and instream Hurricane Cr/Lathrop: fencing and instream Little Creek: fencing and instream Retrofit existing projects: Large wood additions, RR grade removal We have ready and willing landowners! So what would we like to accomplish in the next few years? Here is a list of new or ongoing projects. I would like to emphasize is that there is plenty of work remaining and we have landowners looking over at their neighbor’s property realizing that the grass is really is becoming greener on the other side of the fence. So when they call us up and say they like what we did next door on Mosgrove’s place and ask “Can you help us with a project like that?” we not only want to be able to say YES, WE CAN!! but we also want to be able to do a project in a reasonable time frame. With that I’ll end it there and open it up to questions.

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