McKenzie Watershed Council
March 9, 2017
McKenzie Fire and Rescue Training Center
PRESENT: Council Partners: Randy Hledik (Wildish), Carol Ach (Resident Partner), Nate Day (McKenzie Schools), Joe Moll (McKenzie River Trust), Wade Stampe (Resident Partner), Brian Brazil (International Paper), Ms. Arlene Dietz (Rice Family Farms), Nancy Toth (EWEB), Ralph Perkins (Upper Willamette SWCD), Mark Stephen (BLM), Todd Miller (Springfield City Council), Sue Zeni (Resident Partner), Mark Schulze (HJ Andrews Experimental Forest), Jeff Ziller (ODFW), Kurt Cox (Resident Partner) Bob Bumstead (McKenzie Flyfishers), , Keir Miller (Lane County), Steve Mealey (McKenzie River Guides) and Chad Helms (Army Corps of Engineers)
STAFF: Jared Weybright, Jennifer Weber, Justin Demeter, Amanda Gilbert, and Larry Six
VISITOR: Jim Hunt
ABSENT: Terry Baker (McKenzie River Ranger District), Emily Semple (Eugene City Council), Maryanne Reiter (Weyerhaeuser), Andy McWilliams (Resident Partner), Diane Albino (Mohawk Watershed Partnership) and Rod Fosback (NW Steelheaders)
PROXIES: Sue Zeni for Maryanne Reiter
- Introductions and Approval of Agenda
Mr. Wade Stampe, Facilitator
Action Requested: Approval of agenda
Agenda approved- all showing consensus level 3.
- General Public Comment Session
No comments from public.
- Approval of February 2017 Minutes
Called for consensus on approving the February 2017 Council Meeting Minutes.
Call for consensus. Minutes approved all showing consensus level 3.
- Partner Announcements
Mr. Ziller shared that there has been a lot of information floating around about Leaburg Hatchery. At this time nothing is certain.
Mr. Mealey suggested that there is be a presentation of the progress of the interpretive center at a Council meeting.
Mr. Raymen shared an update on changes regarding New Zealand and their logging practices on public and private lands. New Zealand is already meeting the Paris Accord. Additionally, he brought a copy an article regarding non-game species in Oregon. Mr. Ziller shared that he and his supervisor was disappointed in the lack of clarity in the paper. There was a great deal of information missing from the article.
Ms. Toth shared that EWEB will be closing public access to Trail Bridge and Lakes End campgrounds, the Trail Bridge Reservoir boat launch and Smith Reservoir beginning March 27, 2016, until 2021. In addition to the campground, reservoir and boat launch closures, Forest Service Roads 690, 730, and 689 will be closed to all public use during the reconstruction project. EWEB will be spilling at Carmen Reservoir all summer due to construction work. More information can be found online at: http://www.eweb.org/about-us/news/eweb-to-close-trail-bridge-campground. Some of the flow may make it all the way to Blue Pool. The annual Leaburg Canal outage will take pace in early April and at Walterville Canal in June. The Naturscaping workshop in partnership with the Council, had 14 people in attendance and attendees shared they appreciated the opportunity.
Mr. Miller shared that Lane County has created a new position through the Economic Development Department Rural Prosperity Initiative to work with landowners. Kim Thompson has been selected for the position and has been out in the community to work with aspirational planning for Blue River.
Mr. Johnson shared that the Northwest Steelheaders would be releasing steelhead soon and have approximately 25,000 in the hatch house for next year.
Mr. Day shared that students had their first day of WATERS at McKenzie High School. A lot of excited students getting out there.
Mr. Stephen shared that the BLM McKenzie Lands EA is back from public review and will be rereleased in April after the revisions have been made. The McKenzie View EA will be released in summer 2017. Planning has begun for the Thurston Hills Trail. On April 13th from 5:30-7 there will be a public meeting to get some community input at Willamalane.
Mr. Helms getting ready to open adult fish facilities at Cougar and Fall Creek. Reservoirs are close to 44% full basin-wide, and more rain is coming. The reservoir is going to go above the rule curve this year.
Mr. Bumstead attended the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting. He has been working with Liz Aleman of BLM to make improvements for safety at Rennie Boat Landing.
Mr. Ziller Kelly Reis had taken a rotation assignment as the WWMP Coordinator and she will be there until at least July 1. Jeremey Romer will be back filling her position until her return.
- Staff Reports
Mr. Weybright provided an update on education activities in Mr. Demeter’s absence and shared that Mr. Demeter has been out almost daily working with students regardless of the weather. Mr. Demeter is participating in the Friends of Fin Rock group working with MRT to connect the group interested in that property. Additionally, he is leading a U of O workgroup at BWCA.
Mr. Weybright has spent the majority of his time in the last month on grant applications and reporting. OWEB has released preliminary results from the last cycle. A little over $1 million was available, and there were almost $3 million in requests. Deer Creek Phase II was ranked 4 and recommended for funding. The PWP project was ranked for funding lower than we expected at 10, which might be below the final funding line. The education program application was ranked 2 and is in partnership with the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council. The PWP technical assistance application for continued outreach ranked 2 and is in partnership with the Upper Willamette SWCD. Finally, the application for monitoring spotted frogs was not funded. Reviewer comments have not been released at this point. The National Forest Foundation grant to help support planning work for the South Fork was not successful. Ms. Weber is currently working on writing a grant for the Collins Foundation to help support the education program. Mr. Weybright is working on a very large NOAA application that ties the South Fork work with Finn Rock Reach activities. WNTI application for funds for Deer Creek Phase II is still pending and we should hear results soon.
Ms. Weber shared that all the major plantings for this season have occurred. The only remaining plantings are through the education program. The Naturscaping Workshop was successful and she was happy with the turnout. She is currently working with two of the landowners to design their landscapes. She has been working with the OWEB Outreach Application Working Group to help revise the current outreach application. Due to various legislation, OWEB may need to realign the program. OWEB is working on a stricter interpretation of what success is for the program. Last week she attended a diversity training hosted by Friends of Bufford Park that was offered to the restoration community in Lane County.
- Operations of USACE Hatcheries in the McKenzie Sub-basin
Greg Taylor, USACE Fish Biologist, shared that USACE will be making changes to the hatchery agreements and how they are awarded. Previously these had been awarded through cooperative agreements. USACE decided that it would be better to be a contract that must now go out for bid. Salmon hatchery agreements will still be given to ODFW without the need for bid. The main difference will be for the trout hatcheries. There was some misinformation early in the process change that made it appear as though ODFW would not be allowed to bid. However, with clarification, ODFW will be allowed to bid. These changes do not just affect this area. It affects a lot of work, even outside our fisheries efforts.
Question – Ms. Ach: Does that mean that someone could rent out the hatchery? If someone rents the hatchery will there be USACE oversight?
Answer – Mr. Taylor: Someone could produce outside that facility, or that entity could rent out the procedures. Potentially that is one scenario. Presumably, the USACE would look to lease the facility or divest from the facility altogether.
Question – Mr. Bumstead: Is USACE thinking about reducing its amount of fish? Who is going to check for diseases in the fish?
Answer – Mr. Taylor: Up to 277 thousand pounds could be released. Fish health services are getting contracted out as well. There will be a set of requirements in the contract to check for diseases.
Question – Ms. Ach: What happens to the water right?
Answer – Mr. Taylor: That is a good question and we don’t know the answer right now. Each hatchery is different. Not sure how that is going to be dealt with at this point. Mr. Ziller shared there is a chance that Leaburg Hatchery could not be run without ODFW because Oregon has the water right.
Question – Mr. Moll: Is there going to be an economic impact study?
Answer- Mr. Taylor: If we did an EA or an EIS there would be a study and people would have an opportunity to comment. There would not be an aggressive public outreach campaign, but we would follow federal guidelines.
Question – Mr. Ziller: Are there some potential stipulation on where the fish go?
Answer – Mr. Taylor: Contract language will have stipulations on where the fish can be stocked. He believes that all the places that they currently stock fish are going to be listed as potential places.
Question – Mr. Mealey: Is there a real trade-off with ESA compliance and mitigation responsibilities?
Answer – Mr. Taylor: The mitigation language says USACE needs to produce up to a certain level, and have been. The compliance under ESA would trump the mitigation up to a certain level.
Question – Mr. Bumstead: – Did USACE build the Leaburg Hatchery?
Answer- Mr. Taylor: My understanding is there were many agencies involved in construction. The Forest Service owns the land, USACE own the equipment, and ODFW owns the supplies. Leaburg is currently mostly USACE owned. Mr. Ziller shared that the original Willamette Valley Project was approved in 1935. Through periods there have been additional agreements made. Mr. Taylor added at that time there wasn’t an ESA. On March 8th USACE were served with lawsuits wanting to stop the program altogether. There are people on both sides of the issue. Trying to work through this makes life tough.
Question – Mr. Mealey: What is driving this issue now? Is it the administration?
Answer – Mr. Taylor: Fish were listed in 1999 and the science is telling us to look and think twice about we are doing. There are also people who don’t agree with that science. It is a process we are beginning to work through.
Question – Mr. Perkins: What if ODFW doesn’t get the contract? Could they just do it without the support of USACE in their own facility?
Answer: Mr. Taylor: Chad – There is nothing stopping them from doing that now. There are currently many scenarios that are trying to be worked through.
Mr. Taylor shared that he can be reached if members have additional questions. The intent is for the contracts to be awarded by the end of April. Any changes would occur around the end of June or July 1.
- Long-Term Ecological Reflections
Charles Goodrich shared the mission of the Spring Creek Project located at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. The project brings artists and the sciences together in beautiful ways. He showed a two-minute video on the project and some of the work that has come from the efforts.
Science continues to be important at the HJ Andrews Forest, but people outside the McKenzie don’t really know about it. The project seeks writers to engage with the place and get the word out through various publications. The project has going for about 13 years. Writers and artist come out and spend about a week or two to get inspiration. Writers have their work contributed to “The Forest Log.” Recently a book has been published that compiles the best writings and poems from residents stays.
It is aspirational, but they would like to keep the project going for 200 years. Even the science is not guaranteed. We can create a community of interest and hope people stay interested and help to keep it going. After 75 writers came out as part of the project, visual artists started to ask if they could come participate. They tried to keep the project concentrated on writers, but the visual artists will not be denied. Additionally, musicians have started to participate.
Projects like these have begun in a variety of research areas across the country. Spring Creek has created a website at www.ecologicalreflections.com. It is a place for everyone to show off their programs and to discuss the differences in them.
Meeting adjourned at 7:03 pm.
The next meeting will be held on April 13, 2017, at the Springfield Utility Board, 250 A St, Springfield, OR.