200706100 - Deschutes Sub-basin Riparian Restoration through USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
Sponsor: Wyeast Resource Conservation & Development Area Council
Budgets: FY07: $103,557 | FY08: $99,257 | FY09: $99,257
Short description: Develop riparian buffer systems on streams using the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to restore and enhance riparian areas in the Trout Creek Watershed and other high priority stream reaches identified in the Deschutes Sub-basin Plan.
Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)
Funding category: Expense
Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0
ISRP final recommendation: Response requested
The proposal provides a good synthesis of focal species, habitat conditions, and limiting factors from the Deschutes Subbasin Plan. Detail on habitat conditions establishes the need for riparian improvements. The proposal explicitly identifies how the implementation of riparian buffers will address specific limiting factors. It provides an excellent description of the CREP that also includes some assessment of factors that influence landowner willingness to enroll. Links to regional programs are well described. Collaborations between this and other related projects are presented in good detail. The objectives are direct components of riparian buffer contracts and are measured in: # contracts, acres, miles. It is good to have these objectives quantified but as with other riparian buffer projects it would be helpful to know more about the basis for these numbers in order to understand how the SWCDs develop their enrollment targets or how these targeted enrollments relate to the total need. The work elements are reasonable and follow NRCS protocols. The project will monitor riparian buffer implementation and the effectiveness of livestock exclusion. Monitoring and evaluation will also be conducted through the application of NRCS protocols, in which a baseline visual stream assessment is followed by subsequent periodic assessments to assess terrestrial change within the riparian buffer. The ISRP recommends that to more completely assess post-project results and effectiveness a cooperative effort be implemented with ODFW to also monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers. As with other riparian buffer projects the evaluation aspect could be enhanced by evaluating factors influencing enrollment (although this proposal is notable for having included some discussion of this aspect in the rationale section) and lessons learned from the development and implementation of these contracts. The ISRP recommends that the Oregon SWCDs to work together to identify general findings as well as outcomes that vary by SWCD. The evaluation could identify ways to tie in outreach and education with landowner incentives and constraints. Additional thinking might be developed on how to target new audiences. One aspect of the information transfer component of the project is described as the transfer of information on project accomplishments to Streamnet "with approval of the landowner in accordance with USDA policy." The quoted phrase deserves more explanation as to which project data will be public and which may remain confidential. The ISRP requests a response clarifying the following issues identified in the review: 1. How enrollment objectives are determined. 2. The potential to develop a cooperative effort with ODFW to monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers. 3. The potential for SWCD collaborative development of a report assessing the determinants of successful implementation processes for riparian buffer contracts and other USDA voluntary conservation programs. 4. Whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives?
Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)