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200723100 - UPA Entiat Subbasin Riparian Enhancement Program

Sponsor: Chelan County Conservation District (SWCD)

Budgets: FY07: $71,053 | FY08: $82,257 | FY09: $82,257

Short description: Riparian projects are being proposed in the Entiat subbasin to benefit Upper Columbia spring Chinook, steelhead and bull trout. Funding is requested for Tillicum Creek Fence and potential programmatic riparian projects.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $83,333 | FY08: $83,333 | FY09: $83,334

Comment: ISRP fundable qualified: Use increase in funding to more fully develop the plans as per the ISRP comments to complete the assessments, evaluation of livestock exclusion alternatives, and monitoring plans. Review with Bonneville during contracting. Bonneville should address comment about Tillicum Creek fencing costs during contracting.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part

Comment:

The Tillicum Creek fencing is justified, with conditions. The programmatic section is not justified until assessments and thoughtful plans are available. The ISRP therefore recommends that base funds be provided for completion of the assessments, evaluation of livestock exclusion alternatives, and monitoring plans. This proposal is to construct 0.7 mile of pole fence, off-channel stock watering facilities, and about 0.1 mile of riparian tree plantings along three sites on Tillicum Creek, Indian Creek and Mad River. The goal is to exclude sheep from the riparian zone and channels at a time when steelhead, salmon, or resident trout are spawning or rearing. The proposal does not estimate how many steelhead or Chinook actually use the areas for which fencing is planned, but there is no question that sheep grazing has damaged riparian vegetation, although stream temperatures have not reached hazard thresholds. Additional fine sediment has been attributed to streambank damage, but the percent of fine sediment in spawning gravels has not been measured so the extent of current damage to spawning areas cannot be determined with precision. The fence-building objective is clearly explained, but the proposal suggests no biological or habitat performance metrics for judging project effectiveness. The buck and pole fence is more visually and environmentally appealing than a wire fence, but it is being proposed for an area that has a history of severe fires, and this fence type is highly vulnerable to wildfire damage. Since the fencing work will consist of three segments, it is possible that livestock could reach the streams through an area that is unfenced if the herd is not continuously monitored. The cost of this approach also creates concerns for the more general programmatic proposal in that few miles of riparian area could be fenced under the program if fencing costs over $80,000 per mile as it does in the Tillicum Creek project. Another possible issue with the programmatic element of the project was the indication that bank stabilization would be considered as one of the treatments. Bank armoring may be an appropriate restoration technique in some cases, but it has been greatly overused and is a prime reason why some rivers have become disconnected from their floodplains. Bank armoring projects should receive thorough review before implementation. Riparian monitoring will be limited to periodic photos. Fish population response will include presence/absence surveys and redd counts. It will be difficult to document population-level responses to this project with only one-year pretreatment data. Monitoring the recovery of riparian vegetation to sheep exclusion through vegetation surveys would yield valuable information on the fence’s effectiveness.

Response loop edit

See the sponsor's revised proposal from the response loop. You'll be taken to CBFWA's proposal system in Section 10 where most sponsors uploaded revised narratives or other responses to the ISRP comments.

State/province recommendation: Washington

Review group: Washington list

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: See Washington guidance