Research, Monitoring & Evaluation Program
The Recovery Plan asks a series of questions to guide the course of recovery and improving watershed health -- Where are we? How did we get here? Where do we want to go? How to we get there? And how do we know we're there? This last question sets the stage for evaluating our progress. The Board's approach is comprehensive and depends on a number of programs to be successful.
As part of the recovery plan development the Board established their Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Program to assist Lower Columbia planning partners in implementing monitoring. The Board has developed additional monitoring methods and protocols in coordination with the integrated status and trends monitoring program of the Pacific NW Aquatics Monitoring Partnership. Ongoing fish status and trends monitoring is conducted through the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife. Habitat status and trends monitoring is currently under development. When published the program will integrate the needs of SW Washington stormwater permittee for monitoring water quality with other habitat factors that affect salmon and steelhead.
Habitat Programmatic Review - East Fork Lewis River Project
Fish Supported: Chum, Fall Chinook, Coho, Winter Steelhead, Summer Steelhead
Partners Interviewed: 65
Programs Evaluated: 29
The Recovery Plan's adaptive management process calls for periodic evaluation of progress toward meeting recovery goa relies on recovery partners to implement habitat programs to address threats to salmon and steelhead. It was assumed that regulatory programs protect habitat baseline conditions, conservation programs protect what regulatory programs cannot, restoration programs improve upon baseline conditions, and that monitoring of programs will identify successes and areas where more effort is necessary.
The LCFRB partnered with PC Trask & Associates, Inc. to assess habitat program alignment with these assumptions in the East Fork Lewis River. The East Fork Lewis River Habitat Pilot Study is available for review, with follow up efforts building on this pilot study expected in the near future. In general, it was concluded that
program implementation expectations in the Recovery Plan do not provide partners enough supporting detail, nor does the LCFRB have the capacity to fully engage with all partners on program and recovery alignment
where data exists, it is not widely distributed or structured to support assessment
available restoration project data is not enough to assess habitat threats
alignment between program and Recovery Plan priorities is limited
Lower Columbia Intensively Monitored Watershed
Mill - Abernathy - Germany Complex
The purpose of the IMW program is to determine whether restoration projects measurably increase salmonid production. This information will be used in adaptively managing restoration efforts and updating recovery plans. The IMW effort in the MAG complex involves 2 interrelated elements:
• Monitoring fish populations and habitat conditions in both the treatment and control watersheds by the IMW Monitoring Team led by the WA Department of Ecology and WDFW; and
• Conducting extensive habitat restoration work in the Abernathy Creek and nutrient enhancement in Germany Creek. The habitat restoration work is coordinated by the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board (LCFRB).
Monitoring to establish baseline conditions began in 2003 using funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). An IMW experimental design plan was completed in 2007 to guide monitoring activities. In January 2009, the LCFRB completed the IMW restoration treatment plan (Plan) for the MAG Complex. This work was funded by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) via the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).
The restoration treatment plan (Plan) surveyed stream reaches in the Abernathy and Germany watersheds and identified potential projects. The projects were ranked based on species importance to recovery, estimated current and/or potential value of the targeted reach or project site to the performance of the target species, species life history stages and associated limiting factors or habitat attributes targeted and anticipated improvement in the quality and quantity of habitat. The Plan presents a three-phased approach to restoration project implementation with each phase comprised of 20 restoration projects. Within each phase, projects are grouped by potential interdependencies to promote economies of scale. The projects are also classified by “opportunities and constraints.” The estimated cost of implementing the Phase 1 projects is $6,025,830.