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200732000 - Inventory and Assess Fish Passage and Screening Needs in the Willow Creek Watershed

Sponsor: Morrow County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD)

Budgets: FY07: $28,854 | FY08: $28,307 | FY09: $34,430

Short description: This project proposes to conduct an inventory and assessment of fish passage and screening needs in the Willow Creek watershed necessary to restore summer steelhead (extinct) access to historic spawning and rearing habitat and improve access and movement.

view full proposal

Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

The project proposal identifies an information need in the Willow Creek watershed -- fish screen needs/opportunities and passage opportunities for recovering steelhead and extant redband trout. This project would provide a finer scale assessment than accomplished in the subbasin plan. There are a number of primary relationships of this proposal with other work including the Morrow and Umatilla County riparian buffer projects. Future phases of this program (i.e., implementation) should complement those landowner habitat improvements very well for redband trout and perhaps, future recovery or reintroduction of summer steelhead into the watershed. At present little interest exists within the watershed for recovering or restoring extinct steelhead. All of the land cover in the watershed is in private ownership (except for a small percentage under USDA Forest Service management). Therefore, a thorough assessment of the screening and passage opportunities is important. The objectives are straightforward and focus on two primary elements. The first is outreach to watershed owners and stakeholder regarding the issues, merits, and difficulties with steelhead recovery (and related aquatic issues). Second is the amassing of information regarding extent and locations of passage impediments and screening opportunities. Implementation is projected during the next funding cycle. This modest and inexpensive program (in collaboration with ODFW) is the first phase (assessment and inventory) for future habitat improvement. A possible next phase (implementation) will depend on outcome (full identification of passage and screening opportunities). The work elements are appropriate for the staff effort and funding level. Some expansion on future work elements (beyond FY2009) would be appropriate as a first cut scoping exercise beyond this information gathering phase. The ISRP recommends that the sponsors address the following concerns to strengthen the proposal: 1) Project personnel need to provide evidence that experienced assistance will be available to them and provide evidence that the potential for introduction of exotics is not significant. 2) The proposal would benefit by including whatever data (and summary) regarding past steelhead and red-band or other species existed in the basin as well as whatever data regarding blocked passage in the basin. 3) A clearer connection of Willow Creek issues within a Subbasin Plan. 4) The project will necessitate input by biologists familiar with what does and what doesn't form a block to passage to migrating fish. Coordination between county and (and perhaps training by) ODFW is critical. 5) The proposal is not clear about the location where data will be stored. Production of maps and the inventory, if printed and made widely available, should suffice. 6) Potential exists to open a migration path to undesirable exotics. The proposal should address that potential.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable due to budget constraints

Review group: OSPIT - Plateau

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

Comment: OSPIT recognizes tha there is curently no BPA funded work taking place in this subbasin. This would be the only BPA funded project.