McKenzie Watershed Council
McKenzie Fire and Rescue
PRESENT: Council Partners: Arlene Dietz (facilitator, Rice Family Farms) Carol Ach (Resident Partner), Diane Albino (Mohawk Watershed Partnership), Brian Brazil (International Paper), Kurt Cox (Resident Partner), Nate Day (McKenzie River Schools), Chad Helms (Army Corps of Engineers, alternate for Erik Peterson), Mike McDowell (Resident Partner), Andy McWilliams (Resident Partner), Keir Miller (Lane County), Todd Miller (City of Springfield, alternate for Dave Ralston), Joe Moll (McKenzie River Trust), Ralph Perkins (Upper Willamette Soil & Water Conservation District), Steve Raymen (Resident Partner), Maryanne Reiter (Weyerhaeuser Company), Ray Rivera (McKenzie River Ranger District, alternate for Terry Baker), Mark Schulze (HJ Andrews Experimental Forest), Wade Stampe (Resident Partner), Nancy Toth (EWEB, alternate for Karl Morgenstern) Council Staff: Justin Demeter, Melanie Giangreco, Larry Six, Jennifer Weber Presenters: Cliff Richardson, Trenton Bachman, Drew Hanlow, Coleby Hart, Daniel Quirk Community Members: Ashley Adelman (McKenzie River Action Team), Mary Rutherford, Will Rutherford (Clearwater Coalition), Schee Six, Charles Tannenbaum (Clearwater Coalition), Lane Tompkins (Principal, McKenzie High School), Stephen Weber
PROXIES: Kurt Cox for Bob Bumstead, Andy McWilliams for Jeff Ziller
ABSENT: George Brown (Eugene City Coucil), Rod Fosback (NW Steelheaders Association), Randy Hledik (Wildish), Dave Kretzing (Resident Partner), Bill O’Sullivan (Bureau of Land Management), Ken Johnson (NW Steelheaders Association), Steve Mealey (McKenzie River Guides Association), Craig Patterson (Resident Partner), Mark Stephen (Bureau of Land Management), Sue Zeni (Resident Partner)
- INTRODUCTIONS AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Ms. Dietz (facilitator) called the meeting to order and asked for approval of agenda. Agenda was approved with all members showing consensus level 3.
- SPARC! Presentation
Presentation made by high school students from McKenzie High School: Trenton Bachman, Drew Hanlow, Coleby Hart, Daniel Quirk, along with instructors Justin Demeter and Cliff Richardson.
Students gave overview of the program. They earned a half credit for completing the program. Their study area was in Deer Creek which was affected by the 1964 and 1996 floods and logging in the area. They studied water ecology, riparian area function, plant ID methodology, and macroinvertebrates. Students described what they learned and the results of their study. The described their survey of invasive species, their snorkel survey and how surveys were conducted.
When asked what they would remember about the program 10 years from now, their answer was “This presentation.”
Brief information was provided on the decommission project occurring near Belknap to widen the floodplain back to historic levels and add large woody debris in side channels. This has helped with gravel recruitment, but students did not focus on this as they were mostly focused on invasive species removal.
Mr. Rivera talked about the effects of the 1996 flood and how this helped show a better strategy for creating log jam complexes with roots attached rather than putting in individual logs and attempting to anchor them in place. ELP and SPARC will help with this effort which starts on June 13th.
Ms. Weber asked what each student liked the best about the program. Answers were: snorkeling, walking around in waders, looking at macroinvertebrates and insects, spending time at Deer Creek and seeing things that were new.
Mr. Richardson and Mr. Rivera gave overviews of the historical state of the channel. The streambed was scoured during 1964 and 1996 floods and it has been in recovery since then. It is a very coarse stream bed, with few gravel patches for spawning habitat, but those that are present are being used by cutthroat trout. Loss of wood makes it so smaller gravel is being washed away each flood. Placement of wood should help with gravel sorting and therefore, habitat creation.
- “Upriver” film presentation
Mr. Six introduced the film. The film was made by Jeremy Monroe of Freshwater Illustrated. Some footage of the middle and upper McKenzie appear in film. It tells the story of the Willamette River and people working to take care of it.
- General Public Comment Section
Mr. Tompkins, Principal at McKenzie High School said thank you to the Council for supporting the SPARC! Program and other education programs.
- Partner Announcements
Mr. McWilliams who is involved with McKenzie Masters said that their event last weekend went well, and they raised about $14,000, of which a portion of which will go to MWC/Salmon Watch. They floated from Blue River down and saw the Finn Rock property. Mr. McWilliams was the proxy for Mr. Ziller and provided updates on fish counts. The chinook run is at about half the predicted number for this year.
Mr. Miller is working with EWEB on the Pure Water Partners (PWP) program to fund restoration in the McKenzie and other parts of upper watershed. More work being done in wastewater management through MWMC.
Ms. Toth announced that the Voluntary Incentives Program (VIP) will be rebranded as Pure Water Partners (PWP), probably this fall.
Mr. Schulze shared that there will be a public field day Thursday June 23rd at HJ Andrews. Please register on website if you plan to be there.
Mr. Cox announced that the McKenzie School District is continuing to work towards a charter school. They are starting to set up projects as the goal is for this to be a community school that works on a project basis and turns book learning into real world application. Mr. Richardson and Mr. Cox are working on a partners list. If anyone has anything they believe belongs in school curriculum, send it to Kurt and it will be considered for the curriculum.
Mr. McDowell said that a short section of river about a mile above Hayden Bridge has changed significantly. A gravel bar has moved and a log jam is no longer there. It provides an excellent example of how much the river moves with time.
Mr. Helms provided an update on the fish facility at Cougar. Chinook and bull trout are at the trap. The reservoir level is not up to where it was hoped. It is about 30 feet lower than last year and not expected to climb much higher. It is still possible to get in at one of the boat ramps. Currently reaching peak flow, so flow will start dropping soon.
Mr. Moll said that Daniel Dietz will continue to share duties of representing the MRT at Council meetings. June 25th is the date of the Living River Celebration at Green Island. Tours will be different from last year because of how much river has changed course. The tree planting on the northeast side of the island is really taking off now. Aug. 3rd will be the date of the Council Float and will include the Finn Rock property. Rivers to Ridges partners will also join in on this. More detail will be provided later. At Finn Rock, nothing has been done yet to cross the side channel. MRT is working on securing more funding and will start on initial hydrology assessments this year.
Mr. Miller shared that on April 16th, the National Marine Fisheries Service released a Biological Opinion on how FEMA authorizes flood insurance. As a result, FEMA is being told to alter how floodplain programs are managed due to potential in-stream and floodplain habitat impacts on endangered species. On Jun 21st there will be a meeting with County commissioners on how the Biological Opinion will impact floodplain insurance programs. Recommendations given by NOAA will trickle down to the FEMA flood insurance program, which will eventually trickle down to how this is managed at the county level. The time for the meeting is not set yet. ESA trumps requirements of the flood insurance program (federal agency cannot create jeopardy), so NOAA can enter into consultation and publish Biological Opinion in order to change how other agencies are operating.
Mr. Rivera explained that any time an action agency proposes an action, it has to consult through Section 7 of the ESA through NMFS or USFWS. No proposed projects can adversely affect endangered species. A biological opinion is written only if the action is likely to adversely affect species, then terms and conditions are non-negotiable if the action is to be implemented.
Ms. Albino gave an update from the BBQ with the Mohawk Watershed Partnership last week. A presentation was given by a reindeer raiser about cougar and presentations were made by students from Mohawk High School.
Mr. Raymen has looked for more information about the red-legged frog and has provided citations regarding habitat after last meeting’s discussion about the strategic plan. He has habitat on his property and is willing to gather frogs and bring them to a new habitat if areas being logged have red-legged frog populations. He shared that conservation metrics described on an NPR program last week.
Mr. Rivera announced that the Deer Creek project will start on June 13th, resulting in closures June 20-24th (20 minute delays) on the McKenzie River Trail.
- Approval of May Minutes
Action Requested: Approve minutes.
Minutes were approved will all showing consensus level 3.
- Staff Reports
Mr. Six shared that Mr. Weybright and Ms. Weber are making final updates to the Action Plan, which will be available through OWEB, will be sent to the Council, and will be on our website. Remember that this is a living document and it will keep coming before council every 1-2 years to make updates and modifications. He is pleased that consensus was achieved and thanks Council partners and staff.
The Clean Up is on July 9th. Please mark your calendars. Plan to pick up gear at 8:00. BBQ will follow the Clean Up. Keep an eye out for assignment sheets to be sent out.
Aug. 3rd will be river float to island above Finn Rock. This will be an all -day event. Lunch will be provided. Logistics are still being worked out, but RSVP will be requested in the future.
Sept. 8th is the next Council meeting.
Ms. Weber provided an update from Mr. Weybright. He is working on final edits on the Action Plan and is finishing the OWEB final report. Deer Creek work will be starting soon. The contract is almost done, he is waiting on one more permit and continuing to work with the Forest Service.
PWP (formerly VIP) is continuing to work on planning for select properties. Revision was made of field survey methods. Maintenance work on riparian areas at multiple sites continues. Final presentations for ELP are coming up.
Ms. Weber’s updates were that we have received funding from the Oregon Community Fund (renewal), submitted an LOI to Spirit Mountain, and received approval and sent in full proposal. She is working on GIS maps for the Springfield Public Schools for Soda Fork and Lake Creek. She received good feedback from the BLM. Ms. Weber is working on more projects with Mr. Weybright (focusing more time on this), working on PWP management plans, and small grant projects (review work). She was at the UO with Ms. Toth for the Naturescaping Final Review, which included 10 properties on the McKenzie. Homeowners came for the final review. Ms. Weber will be working with landowners to take next steps toward implementation.
Mr. Demeter shared that about 100 students participated in the Restoration Olympics and the winner this year was Agnes Stewart. Mohawk Middle and High Schools’ presentations went well. BLM has given $2,500 to Salmon Watch and $2,500 to WELL. Cary Patterson will be joining the SW Steering Committee. The last class of the year will be with McKenzie High School. He is going out with survey teams June 26, 27, 28. Planning is currently underway for the Salmon Celebration. There are already requests for dates for Salmon Watch for next year. Training for volunteers will be in August, so keep an eye out for emails.
Mr. Rutherford asked if there were any updates on the South Fork Rehabilitation. Mr. Rivera answered that the documentation process will begin this fall. Pre-project monitoring is happening at this point.
Mr. Miller said that MWMC is interested in upper river restoration due to temperature increases from wastewater discharge. The Biological Opinion released in December said that the standard was not protective enough (20 degrees C was considered the maximum allowable temperature). This does not impact areas up higher in the river. It is necessary to protect areas along the lower Willamette, or the temperature needs to be lowered to 18 degrees C upriver. This has implications for how other organizations/agencies will be dealing with restoration.
Next Meeting: September 8, 2016, Weyerhaeuser, 5:00 p.m.