Response for project 200000100: Anadromous Fish Habitat & Pass

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The Omak Techincal Working Group had met recently to identify resource improvement projects within this watershed for the FY2006. The general breakdown follows: Project management (inlcuding permitting): $ 25,000 Range improvements (4 spring developments and associated fencing ): $ 31,300 Culvert replacement: $ 100,000 Monitoring and Evaluation: $9,000 Land acquisition: $100,000 (plus 50,000 cost share with PCSRF) Total: $265,300 These are cost estimates based upon simalar projects that have been completed in the watershed. Refinement of costs, particularly for the cuvlert replacement will be complete upon survey and design, expected to be conducted by NRCS staff.

Accomplishments since the last review

Type of decommissioning (B/S/R): (Blocked, Scarified/Ripped, Recontoured)Ripped and seeded
# of road miles decommissioned (0.01 mi.)2.4 miles
Start and end lat/long of each treated road segment (0.1")Start LAT 119 8' 00
Develop Alternative Water SourceFY 2003 4 spring developments, 4 cattle guards were installed and one rock watering point.
# of miles of fence (0.01 mi.)FY 2005 - relocated livestock corral; modified rock watering point; constructed 3,170 feet(0.60 miles)of fence
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)Stablized a historic railroad crossing of a tributary of Omak Creek. Approximately 2 acres
Replace/Maintain Instream StructureRemoved 2 5.5 diameter damaged culverts with a 1 bottomless arched culvert. Primary value was to avoid a washout of existing road bed and fill.

FY 2003, 4 spring developments were constructed to provide a water source for livestock, and limit there access from surface waters in the watershed; 4 cattle guards were installed and one rock watering point. FY 2004, two 5.5' diameter culverts were replaced with on bottomless-arch culvert; unstable fill material at historic railroad crossing of a tributary to Omak Creek was removed stabilized; 2.5 miles of road was decommissioned. FY2005, a corral for gathering livestock will be moved from adjacent to Omak Creek to approximately 200 feet from the creek; an undersized culvert (3' diameter) on a Stapaloop Creek, a tributary of Omak Creek, will be replaced with an (8' diameter culvert); 3,170 ft. of fence excluding livestock from the upper reaches of Omak Creek has been constructed; a hardened rock watering point has been modified to stabilize the opposite side of the stream bank.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

# of acres of new purchase/easement (0.1 ac.)5 acres, currently irrigated but once purchased irrigation would cease and water table would likely rise.
Start date of the purchase (mm/dd/yyyy)January 15, 2006
# of riparian miles protected (0.01 mi.)0.4 mile (0.2 on each bank of Omak Creek)
Develop Alternative Water SourceConstruct 4 spring developments, remove livestock from surface water sources
# of miles of fence (0.01 mi.)Construct 500 feet (0.1 mile) of fence.
# of acres of vegetation planted (0.1 ac.)Plant approximately 300 plants to accelerate stability at historica railroad crossing. Approximately 2 acres.
Replace/Maintain Instream StructureReplace a 7' culvert with a bottom arch. This will reduce the risk of road washing out and adversely affecting spawning habitat downstream.
Remove or Relocate Non-predaceous AnimalsCurrently a 5 acre parcel which is bissected by Omak Creek is grazed by cattle. Upon purchase of the property livestock would be removed by current owner. Consequently impacts caused by concentrated livestock will be reduced.

The goals for FY 2006, is to remove potential threats to summer steelhead spawning habitat. These threats originate primarily from undersized culverts, concentrated livestock use and roads that are in close proximity to water ways. In addition we are seeking cost-share funding for a 5-acre parcel near the confluence of Omak Creek. The property line is on both sides of the creek channel. Currently, this land is being used to grow alfalfa and graze cattle. Adverse effects to the land and water resources include irrigation from a well in close proximity to the creek channle which may cause a local drawdown of the water table. In addition livestock use has prevented regeneration of riparian vegetation primarily woody plants such as river birch, aler, and willow. Once purchased livestock would be excluded from the property, irrigation would cease and native vegetation would be cultivated. Furthermore, the land would be managed for wildlife and fisheries values. Also anticipate monitor adult steelhead return and evaluate the release of crosses HxH, HxW, and WxW crosses of summer steelhead (PIT tagged), released during April 2004.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

With an average volumetric measurement exceeding 40% fine sediment (< 1/4 inch diameter) in residual pools, the habitat rehabilitation efforts should be focused towards identifying sediment sources and addressing them to reduce delivery of this material to water ways (defined by a bed and bank). I exhale with relief, seeing that sediment is the primary limiting factor idenitified in Omak Creek in the Sub basin plan (Table 2, page 14). The land purchase would also increase channel stability and elevate the water table in the lower reach, where water flowed subsurface during the summer of 2004. We need to continue to monitor the locally-adapt broodstock program and modify the program (run timing, life history (1 year in freshwater), reproductive success, kelt reconditioning etc.) to improve production and survival. Possibly incorporate broodstock from other tributaries into the program (i.e. Bonaparte Creek, Tunk Creek, etc.).

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

See above

Other comments

From 2002 through 2004, over 100 adult steelhead have returned to Omak Creek, and during 2005 190 adult steelhead entered Omak Creek to spawn. This is remarkable considering natural production was decimated due to two inadvertant fire retardant spills in the creek resulting in a complete kill and partial kill during 2001 and 2003 respectively. Results from habitat rehabilitation efforts are encouraging based upon increases in canopy closure from 8% to 40% in 3 years. However, the large amount of fine sediment continues to be a factor in secondary and fish production. Furthermore, extreme drought conditions and reduced flows during spring freshet have allowed inactive beaver dams and ponds to remain. This has resulted in increases in inudated spawning habitat and water temperature thsu reducing production. Rehabilitation efforts also include compromising an impediment at the base of Mission Falls. This will involve the installation of 3 instream structures which will inundate the impediment and improve passage conditions. The result will be access to approximately 17 miles of spawning and rearing habitat. Building a reliable steelhead return in Omak Creek is the first step to developing a sustainable steelhead population in the Okanogan River basin.