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199607000 - Mckenzie Focus Watershed

Sponsor: McKenzie Watershed Alliance

Budgets: FY07: $162,070 | FY08: $169,121 | FY09: $176,474

Short description: Continued administration of McKenzie River Focus Watershed for coordinated planning and monitoring of fish, wildlife and water quality improvement projects and improved resource stewardship through public outreach and education.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

The McKenzie Watershed Council (MWC) has been very active in subbasin issues, is well directed, and has achieved considerable success. There is every reason to believe this success will continue in the future. Future reviews should focus on the adequacy and accomplishments of the proposed monitoring program. The proposal presents a good summary of the problems facing the McKenzie watershed as identified in the McKenzie River assessment and the Willamette Subbasin Plans. It establishes a general link between the MWC and the mitigation of identified limiting factors such as invasive vegetation, stream velocities, bank erosion and lack of channel complexity. Although the watershed has high quality habitat, significant habitat degradation has occurred in the lower river on private land. The major threat to salmon in the watershed is loss of juvenile habitat. The MWC has been funded by BPA since 1996. The proposal includes a list of project accomplishments and reports, as well as a description of the adaptive management processes that the MWC follows to implement the conservation strategy. The MWC has an impressive list of accomplishments, many involving outreach to the public. It has established an innovative benchmark system to evaluate MWC progress toward its goals. However, as earlier ISRP comments have noted it would still be helpful to have a summary of the big picture effects of the many activities being coordinated. The project to date appears to have been well coordinated and involves multiple partners planning and actively participating in aquatic and terrestrial restoration projects. Particularly noteworthy is the 8300 volunteer hours that have been devoted to assisting with MWC projects. The proposal directly addresses objectives in the McKenzie and the Willamette Subbasin Plans and is driven by the McKenzie River Conservation Strategy, which prioritizes watershed restoration actions. The strategy includes benchmarks that establish target conditions. The planning document connects the actions of the MWC to the Fish and Wildlife Program goals and other regional programs. The sponsors appear to have strong cooperative relationships with landowners and the McKenzie River Trust. Agency personnel participate in restoration planning. Objectives are clear and are directed toward continuing the work of the MWC. The objectives deal primarily with coordination of restoration activities with private, government, and NGO entities. The proposal will establish several new, prioritized on-the-ground restoration projects. Improvement of water quality and outreach are especially important objectives of the proposal. They seem to be appropriate and ambitious objectives for a watershed council. Work elements under each objective are described in detail. Techniques are appropriate for the coordination tasks described. Particularly noteworthy are the education and outreach activities conducted under Objective 4, which include not only the usual public information dissemination but also educational programs for K-12, reflecting a long-range strategy for community stewardship. In total, the work elements describe activities of a well-integrated watershed council program. The sponsors have a long-standing record of achieving success with the outlined methods. The watershed council coordinates several monitoring programs related to water quality. As part of this proposal the MWC is developing an effectiveness monitoring program to expand on existing tributary monitoring. Information transfer is implemented through the MWC website, newsletters, and annual reports. Information distribution is also through collaborators. Probably the most effective information transfer is through the outreach and education programs which are well described under Objective 4.

State/province recommendation: Fundable when money available

Review group: OSPIT - Estuary

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment: This project should be a secondary priority and funded if other projects in to subbasin are unable to move forward. The project has an excellent history of leveraging cost share and OSPIT supports its habitat restoration in a priority basin in the Willamette.