Response for project 199607000: Mckenzie Focus Watershed

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The McKenzie Watershed Council confirms our request to renew the McKenzie River Watershed Focus Watershed Project. The FY06 budget identified, $127,133, is consistent with our expectations.

Accomplishments since the last review

FY03, FY04, FY05 (to present date): Planning and Coordination - Convened 28 Council meetings; Attended 19 basin-wide meetings/conferences; Coordinated Mohawk Watershed Partnership, including 28 meetings and 10 newsletters; Convened McKenzie/Willamette Confluence Steering Committee 8 times; Informed decision-makers about watershed issues; Conducted 63 presentations to local community groups; Coordinated 3,400 volunteer hours on watershed council projects; Increased annual funding through matching funds (~$1,000,000 - not including current year match); Ongoing maintenance of office; Finalized transition to nonprofit status; Created Education, Finance and Projects Committee in FY05, each committee has meet at least once since inception; Developed Business Plan; Renewed office lease; Coordinated 16 habitat restoration projects; Coordinated 6 culvert replacement projects; Coordinated 1 project site tour; Convened Water Quality Committee 10 times and adopted Macroinvertebrate Monitoring Report; Coordinated monthly tributary monitoring; Coordinated 3 annual macroinvertebrate sampling events; Map development through ArcView used to enhance outreach efforts; Attended 3 McKenzie River Cooperative Maintenance and Security Partnership meetings; Produced and distributed 8 McKenzie Watershed Council newsletters, Produced 25 community events to encourage public participation in watershed; Provided water quality education and guidance to K-12 students and teachers; Utilized and trained volunteers to present "Salmon Picnic"; Produced 2 community workshop events encouraging best management practices. Reporting - 2 Annual Reports delivered to BPA. RM & E and Data Management – Developed project database to track Conservation Strategy implementation; Disseminated water quality monitoring data via website.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Continued McKenzie River Watershed Program Coordination. Develop, coordinate, plan, design, and monitor habitat protection, restoration and water quality projects; improve resource stewardship through public outreach and education. FY06 Goals: Planning and Coordination - Convene 11 McKenzie Watershed Council meetings; Attend 6 basin-wide meetings/conferences; Continued coordination of Mohawk Watershed Partnership; including 11 meetings and 4 newsletters; Convene 3 McKenzie/Willamette Confluence Steering Committee meetings and develop and fund 2 new projects; Meet with local decision-makers to inform about watershed council activities and issues; Increase annual funding through match funds; Continue high quality office maintenance; Renew Business Plan goals; Coordinate continued management of 24 restoration projects and develop 3 new projects for FY07; Coordinate 3 culvert replacement projects; Coordinate 1 project site tour; Convene Water Quality Committee 3 times - review DEQ trends analysis and revise with local trends information; Coordinate annual macroinvertebrate collection event, Coordinate monthly tributary monitoring efforts with local school districts; Continue map development efforts, use maps to enhance outreach efforts; Attend annual McKenzie River Cooperative Maintenance and Security Partnership meeting; Produce and distribute 2 McKenzie Watershed Council newsletters, Coordinate at least 6 community outreach events and 1 landowner workshop; Provide water quality education and guidance to K-12 students and teachers; Train volunteers to aid in "Salmon Picnic" presentations; Revise Conservation Strategy Benchmarks. Reporting - 1 Annual Report delivered to BPA; 4 Status Reports delivered to BPA. RM & E and Data Management: Update project database; Disseminate water quality data conducted in watershed to interested stakeholders.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

Priority (page 5-3) - Ensure that all of the priority themes are taken up in an organized way at the local level. Formed in 1993 the McKenzie Watershed Council (Council) serves as a forum for exchanging information, a vehicle for resolving issues and as an advisory body to various government agencies with management authority within the 1,300-square-mile McKenzie River Watershed. With a mission of fostering better stewardship of McKenzie Watershed resources through voluntary and collaborative partnerships the Council is one of the oldest community-based watershed stewardship organizations in the Pacific Northwest. The Council is widely recognized as a leading watershed organization in a field of more than 90 such organizations throughout the state of Oregon. Council actions are directed by the following goals: Goal I - Promote Community Understanding and Stewardship through Outreach and Education, Goal II - Promote Partnerships to Support Local Stewardship Actions, Goal III - Protect and Restore Key Fish and Wildlife Habitats, Goal IV - Protect and Restore Water Quality and Quantity and Goal V - Council Accounts For and Provides Investments in the Watershed. The McKenzie Watershed Council and its partnering organizations ensure that the priority themes of the Subbasin Plan will be considered on the local level. Institutional Strategies (listed in Table 5-3, page 5-20 and in Section 5.5, page 5-27) - Funds from BPA help increase watershed council capacity to improve coordination and communication among all interested stakeholders. Local landowners know of and trust the McKenzie Watershed Council as a source of reliable information regarding McKenzie Watershed issues. The McKenzie Watershed Council represents an opportunity to bring the Willamette Subbasin Plan to the local level to ensure that goals and strategies of the subbasin plan are implemented.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Goals of the Council (listed above) match the priorities of the Subbasin Plan through their focus on collaboration with local stakeholders within the watershed (Priority; page 5-3). Through the EDT analysis conducted through the subbasin planning process, the Lower McKenzie River was identified with the highest protection and restoration benefits (Appendix K). Key factors limiting spring Chinook salmon populations include a loss of habitat diversity and key habitat quantity. Through a well coordinated restoration program, the Council is able to help coordinate the implementation of the 23 Restoration and Protection Strategies outlined in the McKenzie Subbasin EDT (Appendix K, pages 27-37). The Council is playing a leadership role in addressing the priorities addressed in the Willamette Subbasin Plan: 1) Deal with the Dams: The Council has played a significant role in advising the Corps of Engineers on the operation of dams in the McKenzie system to support fish populations and ecosystems function. 2) Fix Culverts and Diversions to Allow Fish Passage: The Councils has replaced 3 culverts to remedy fish passage issues. In addition, the Council is working to create a database of high priority culverts for fish passage improvements. 3) Focus on Valley and Foothills Wildlife: The Council, in cooperation with the McKenzie River Trust, is focusing on protecting and restoring key valley and foothills wildlife habitats, including bottomland forests and oak savanna. 4) Restore Lowland Riparian Areas: The Council is actively working with landowners to restore riparian areas in the lower portions of the river valley, the Mohawk watershed, and near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette River. 5) Restore Low-Cost, High-Return Areas of the Willamette River Floodplain: The Council, in cooperation with the McKenzie River Trust, has a strategic commitment to restore complex channels and functioning riparian areas along the Willamette and lower McKenzie River.

Other comments

Working with its Partners and stakeholders, the McKenzie Watershed Council develops and implements habitat restoration projects throughout the watershed, works with area schools to develop watershed education programs for students, facilitates collaboration and sharing of water quality monitoring conducted within the watershed and focuses public outreach to residents of the McKenzie River Watershed. As such the McKenzie Watershed Council continues to implement the goals of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, a unique state-led, collaborative, grassroots conservation plan to restore salmon and watersheds (Appendix Q). The McKenzie Watershed Council is currently participating in the Willamette Restoration Priorities process being conducted by Biosystems and funded through the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. This planning process builds upon the Willamette Subbasin Plan.