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200728600 - Deschutes Cooperative Stream Flow Restoration

Sponsor: Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District

Budgets: FY07: $150,000 | FY08: $150,000 | FY09: $150,000

Short description: Restoration of stream flows in the Deschutes basin above the Pelton Round Butte complex to sustain the successful reintroduction of anadromous fish. Flows to be restored through development of cooperative irrigation water management projects in the basin.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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


ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable


Implementing water conservation projects is likely to be beneficial, as demonstrated by instream flow increases resulting from previous improvements in irrigation efficiency. However, this proposal lacks detail to explain how it will be done, how the project links to others, why the Deschutes SWCD is the logical entity to coordinate implementation, and how effectiveness monitoring would be conducted. The proposal states “Nothing succeeds like success.” However, success in restoration is only achieved if positive impacts of flow augmentation on habitat conditions and fish populations can be demonstrated. Review concerns specific to individual proposal components are identified below: Technical and scientific background: This section is missing a discussion of the magnitude of the problem of dewatered streams and how it relates to the limiting factors and restoration priorities identified in the Deschutes Subbasin Plan. Information on the utility of irrigation improvements for the increase in in-stream cfs (presented in the objectives section) should be included in this section. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: This section presents relevant but minimal information. The proposed work is generally consistent with the Deschutes Subbasin Plan and the Pelton-Round Butte re-licensing agreement; however, is not specifically linked to the Deschutes Subbasin Plan limiting factors and priorities, the BiOp, the Fish and Wildlife Program, or the OR Plan. Relationships to other projects: The proposal is related to several similarly oriented projects whose essence is collaboration with landowners and agencies. However, the proposal contains only minimal detail on the relationship to other SWCD projects in the area. Only passing mention is made to the Deschutes water transactions program, another program working toward increased stream flows. The need to discuss the water transactions program is further strengthened by the proposal's assertion in the objectives section that cooperation has an advantage over "market-based" approaches for increasing stream flows. The basis for this statement should be made clear. Objectives: The sponsors have proposed a number of very worthwhile activities, activities that they have successfully been engaged in for some time. The sponsors have already secured considerable funding for their projects. The principle question for this review is what, specifically, will BPA funding add to their program. Objectives should be constructed to address this question. Objectives are not specified in measurable form and little detail is presented as to how the objectives will be accomplished. A lot of the material presented in this section is justification that would more reasonably be put in the background or rationale section. Tasks (work elements) and methods: Methods are described generally, with the sponsors primarily recounting past projects. Very little information is provided as to how the objectives will be accomplished and measured. Monitoring and evaluation: The sponsors speak of a monitoring effort but do not provide details except for "periodic ground truthing." More information is needed. It would be useful for the Deschutes SWCD to collaborate with a larger scale monitoring effort so that it will be possible to ascertain whether the flow increases achieved by conservation practices have improved habitat conditions and fish populations.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable

Review group: OSPIT - Plateau

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

Comment: OSPIT recognizes the importance of the project to the Deschutes subbasin, but the project received a Not Fundable from ISRP. OSPIT encourages sponsors to work with the CBWTP to see how project fits in that program.