September 8th, 2016
McKenzie Watershed Council
785 N. 42nd Street, Springfield
PRESENT: Council Partners: Wade Stampe, Facilitator (Resident Partner ), Steve Raymen (Resident Partner), Joe Moll (McKenzie River Trust), Steve Mealey (McKenzie River Guides Association), Ralph Perkins (Upper Willamette Soil & Water Conservation District), Arlene Dietz (Rice Family Farms), Carol Ach (Resident Partner), Nate Day (McKenzie Schools), Kurt Cox (Resident Partner), Brian Brazil (International Paper), Randy Hledik (Wildish), Mike McDowell (Resident Partner), Dave Kretzing (Resident Partner), Sue Zeni (Resident Partner), Andy McWilliams (Resident Partner), Terry Baker (McKenzie River Ranger District), Mark Schulze (HJ Andrews Experimental Forest), Karl Morgenstern (EWEB), Maryanne Reiter (Weyerhaeuser), Todd Miller for Dave Ralston (City of Springfield), Kelly Reis for Jeff Ziller (ODFW), Lindsey Eichner for Keir Miller (Lane County) Council Staff: Larry Six, Jared Weybright, Justin Demeter, Jennifer Weber, Melanie Giangreco Community: Nancy Toth (EWEB)
Proxies: Wade Stampe for Chad Helms (USACE)
Absent: Diane Albino (Mohawk Watershed Partnership), Bob Bumstead (McKenzie Flyfishers), Rod Fosback (NW Steelheaders Association), Bill O’Sullivan (Bureau of Land Management), Craig Patterson (Resident Partner)
- INTRODUCTIONS AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Council partners and staff introduced themselves.
Agenda approved with all showing consensus level 3.
- GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT SESSION
No public comments were made.
- Partner Announcements
Mr. Baker shared that Blue Pool is open today and there will be public meetings regarding management of that area. It has been a challenge. Fire is contained. In process of reviewing comments regarding Blue Top Fire Area closure. Environmental Assessment is underway for Lang Dam. Implemented Deer Creek project earlier this summer. New herpetologist has joined staff.
Mr. McWIlliams is pledging to help sponsor Salmon Celebration. McKenzie Masters or Wayfarer will be sponsoring at least $500 and volunteering.
Mr. McDowell shared that during the cleanup he found a wallet at the Blue River landing. (Council staff located the owner and returned it.) Mr. McDowell noticed that there were fewer cigarette butts and less trash in general than in previous years.
Ms. Reis spoke about the tour of the Deer Creek project. She is looking forward to seeing it after the winter. She also announced that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted the forage fish plan, noting that the council sent a letter of support for said plan.
Mr. Day announced that school is now back in session. He is actively seeking guest speakers for upcoming science classes. The proposal for the charter school has been submitted to school board and a public hearing will be held Sept 14th at 6:00.
Mr. Miller provided an update on the riparian shading for thermal issues permit. The MWMC partnership with EWEB/PWP looks good. A presentation will be given to the wastewater treatment commission tomorrow to formalize PWP. Freshwater Trust is under contract to scope the need for shading on lower tributaries.
Ms. Dietz announced that it is now harvest season. The Oregon Department of Water Resources is updating their water resources plan. A drought component is being considered in the updated plan.
Mr. Perkins thanked Mark Schulze and the staff at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest for the field trip there and to Filacre’s Farm. The participants learned a lot.
Mr. Mealy provided an update on the interpretive center. Bob Parker finished the feasibility study in July. The center would be located at the old hatchery. The next step is contracting with Portico Group to develop the site plan and a themed series of exhibits on hydrology, geology, river guides, etc. The site plan will be completed prior to beginning major fundraising efforts. On Oct. 11th there will be a planning meeting at Wayfarer to visit with stakeholders. On October 13th, Portico Group will come back to the stakeholder group with preliminary sketches. Funding needs will likely be $18-20 million.
Mr. Moll said that the Living River Celebration in July was a great success. The Finn Rock raft trip in August resulted in lots of great input from about 40 people who attended. They have started to clear blackberry on the new property and have found that there is a pond that has seasonal high water connection. Lots of natives and non-natives in ponds seen in preliminary fish studies. Finn Rock is the most active current project for MRT.
Mr. Raymen said he lives on a 10-acre old growth parcel, has been observing red legged frogs, and has seen fewer this year. He is interested in feedback on that species and says that current BLM plans would cut into the riparian zone. He is interested in moving more frogs to the forest (transport) from areas where frogs could be threatened.
In response to Mr. Raymen’s comments, Mr. Schulze shared that the three year drought has resulted in population declines in fish and other aquatic species. A study is nearly complete at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.
- Approval of June Minutes
June 2016 minutes were reviewed by partners. Mike McDowell was listed as “absent,” this needs to be changed to “present.” Call for approval of minutes as corrected.
All showing consensus level 3 to approve minutes as corrected.
- Adoption of Diversity and Equity Statements
Ms. Weber reported on the draft Diversity and Equity statements. These were drafted to formalize how we already work, but funders want to see this type of language in writing. The non-profit world is overwhelmingly white, so funders want to formalize equity and diversity.
Call for comments and suggested changes.
Mr. Schulze wants to know if there is a strategy that goes along with the statements.
There is not currently a written strategy. However, one step in this direction is that lesson plans are being translated into Spanish.
Mr. Perkins recommended the council adopt the Diversity and Equity Statements as submitted. Recommendation approved with all showing consensus level 3. Mr. Moll shows consensus level 1 or 2 because Meyer and many other funders are asking for information on DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) on applications. A number of efforts that the Council could participate in will likely involve outreach to and inclusion of diverse communities. Mr. Moll also recommended the new book being released by ornithologist Drew Lanham titled, “The Place Home: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.”
- Information Request to Oregon Department of Forestry
Mr. Patterson sent emails to the Council prior to the meeting related to an information request from the Oregon Department of Forestry. Mr. Six introduced this agenda item as Mr. Patterson was not present at the meeting.
Ms. Toth shared that she had a recent conversation with Mr. Patterson and informed him that EWEB is tracking spray activities from ODFW. LCOG is putting this information in a more usable format, and EWEB is including maps. These are available (some are publicly available online) and have been sent to Mr. Patterson. If discussion is needed, this agenda item will be added to a future meeting’s agenda.
Ms. Dietz asked if there were any problems found with spray activity. The studies have found higher hits of certain chemicals, but no complete analysis has been done. Reports are on the EWEB website for agriculture, urban, and forestry. Highest impact is from urban, then agriculture, then forestry.
- Staff Report
Mr. Demeter gave an update on Salmon Watch. First field trip date is September 19th. Currently looking for volunteers to sign up. Had training session on Aug 30th with about 17 people. Overall, it went well. Salmon Celebration will be on Sept. 17th. Handed flyers around. Salmon Celebration will be at Hendrick’s Bridge Wayside and volunteers are needed for this event as well. Thank you to Wayfarer, ODFW, Fisherman’s Market, Oregon Lox, and Cabela’s. Planning for the school year has started. Lesson plan development is ongoing. Adding soil science to riparian lessons this year. Meeting with EWEB and SUB to develop education program as well. Looking at expanding testing areas. New school is being built for Mohawk Middle/High School. Hoping to have students help with design of native plant garden. Also looking at school garden program. Coburg Charter schedule is set, mostly on Green Island. Springfield Middle is looking at adding sites to restoration programs. For habitat team, some sites will be out of district. Lessons will shift during winter to more lab work and presentations. Water quality teams will do more analysis of data as well at several different sites, which may lead to shift in SPARC program (maybe more on water quality instead of solely habitat).
Ms. Weber is primarily working on projects with Mr. Weybright including maintenance on active riparian sites and PWP management plans for pilot project landowners. Refining reference site protocols. Coordinating with landowners to sign agreements. NWYC crews came out to some of pilot project sites and spent several days. Landowners were happy with their work on invasive management. For naturescaping, continuing to work with landowners in this capacity (smaller residential properties on river that have riparian buffer area). One landowner is not in the boundary for the PWP program, but wants to do a naturescaping plan and MWC will be doing a fee for service design. Currently working on restoration project database which will allow staff to more rapidly produce project reports. Refining and organizing GIS database. May also be able to put some of these maps on database. Ms. Weber will also be working with high school students in lab to teach GIS, and develop simple maps for their projects. Full funding was received from Spirit Mountain for the education program. Mr. Demeter will be picking up the check next week.
- Deer Creek Slideshow
Mr. Weybright presented a slideshow on the Deer Creek Floodplain Enhancement Project which is co-managed by the USFS McKenzie River Ranger District and MWC. Showed maps and pictures of broader area. The Deer Creek sub-watershed is almost entirely in USFS ownership. Background information on the site- West Cascades geology, habitat for rainbow and cutthroat trout. 303 seasonal listing for temperature. Lower portion is listed as critical habitat for both bull trout and spring chinook. Showed photos of pre-project conditions. Existing woody debris counts within Deer Creek were well below reference reach levels. Redd surveys done by ODFW and USFS showed an unexpectedly high number of trout redds (assumed mostly rainbow). Gravel did seem to be limiting factor as nearly every suitable gravel patch within the survey area had a redd.
Habitat within Deer Creek has been impacted by historical logging, creation of berms and dikes within the floodplain, salvage of instream wood, and the presence of EWEB powerlines present within the active channel. Recovery of large wood has been slow, resulting in channel incision and high sediment transport. This has created a creek with wide shallow channels, low pool abundance, channel simplification and disconnection from the floodplain.
The goal of the Deer Creek Project was to enhance habitat for ESA-Listed Threatened spring Chinook salmon and Bull trout, along with rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and other native species. Specific objectives included increasing large wood frequency, redistribution of berm materials, live trees pulled into channel, integration of education and outreach. Objectives for ecological function include an ambitious monitoring plan with specific metrics set for 3-5 years in collaboration with ODFW, fishing groups, UO, and MWC staff. The Project will cover the lower 1.6 miles of the creek and be completed in two phases. Phase I was completed this past summer and Phase II is expected to be completed in the fall of 2017.
Mr. Weybright provided an overview of funding and partnerships. Funding was sourced from the USFS, OWEB, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Bring Back the Natives program, and the Mt Hood-Willamette Resource Advisory Committee (RAC). Total project cost is expected to approach $500,000. Due to cost overruns in Phase I, an additional funding will need to be secured for Phase II.
Showed pre-project drone flight photos of confluence, then moving upstream. The photos show scouring and minimal connectivity with the floodplain. Drone flights have been very helpful in tracking this kind of work.
Overview with photos of equipment used. USFS staff from the Deschutes and Middle Fork Willamette Ranger Districts assisted with project (design, fish salvage, etc.).
Two main contractors were Blue Ridge Timber (tree tipping in Phase II), and Haley Construction (primary for placement, haul, etc. in Phase I). The MWC had not worked with Haley Construction prior to this project. They were highly recommended, a great group, family organization, and very professional. Very pleased with their work. Had the right equipment for the job. Decided on largest equipment because of safety and efficiency. Paid more per hour, but this was cost effective because projects took so much less time.
Project Implementation overview: There were 7 quarter acre units that trees were harvested from (25-30 trees from each ¼ acre gap). With previous equipment, about 8-10 logs/day could be harvested. With larger equipment used during this project, this same work could be done in an hour. Broke logs apart with equipment to give more natural split instead of smooth, bucked logs that we have seen in previous wood placement projects. Unit rehab was done on the way out (subsoil, scatter slash, youth corps fine tuning areas that equipment could not access such as drainage ditches.) Logs were moved to staging sites, then moved directly into the flood plain. Instream placement- built out secondary channels first, then let water back in, and dammed off main stem to do work there.
Fish biologist from USFS Deschutes Ranger District helped with project redesign which involved dispersing more berm material than originally planned. Turbidity resulting from the instream work often clearing within a few hours. If dammed properly, working in mostly dry area and not creating turbidity issues.
Moved 3,000 fish in fish salvage process when dewatering channels. Found one juvenile Chinook, and 4 sub adult bull trout. Most were sculpin, rainbow, some cutthroat, tailed frogs, and pacific giant salamander.
Showed before and after photos from different locations throughout the project.
In response to a question from Mr. Mealy, Mr. Baker explained that no EA was done because there is a new categorical exclusion for restoration projects. Public scoping was completed but no comments were received. Work on upper half had minimal impact. Near footbridge, had more sediment impact, but very quick positive response from stream.
In response to a question, Mr. Weybright noted that salvaged fish were moved upstream or downstream outside of the project impact area.
Ms. Reis stated that they observed trout already using new habitat when ODFW staff went back to visit the project site. Mr. Baker noted that the McKenzie River Ranger District had a few comments from Bellknap Hot Springs, but when project was explained, were able to smooth things over. No negative public response to this project has been received from any of the partners.
Guides may have some funding to help with project completion. Mr. Mealey will be in touch with Mr. Weybright.
What would impacts be in a flood year? No guarantees, but there will be more stabilization provided by the placement of whole tipped trees to be placed in Phase II.
Are pieces tagged? No. This was not a condition of the project. A project that Ms. Reiter is currently working on is tagging wood that was placed. This may be something to consider (maybe on lower half mile). Could talk to Stan Gregory regarding strategies. Primary downstream infrastructure issue is McKenzie River Trail footbridge. Otherwise, quite a bit of geographical buffer on Forest Service land in this area.
Mr. Morgenstern announced that EWEB has contracted with UO and OSU to extend slices framework. Fish abundance diversity monitoring is included. It will be finished next year, then will have land use, land cover, and fish abundance data, etc.
Mr. Mealey said that Mr. Morgenstern took leadership on the cleanup of homeless camps. Now there is an app available for site locations, possible threats, cleanup, etc. 60 camps currently identified, nearly 40 have been cleaned up.