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Planning for Watershed Restoration by Neil Stichert

Community-Based Watershed Management, March 2012, Juneau Alaska. Southeast Alaska Watershed Forum

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Planning for Watershed Restoration by Neil Stichert

  1. 1. Steps to Develop Watershed Restoration and Enhancement ProjectsNeil StichertJuneau Fish and Wildlife Field Office
  2. 2. Presentation Goal and ObjectivesGoal – Offer basic information to ‘community based’ stakeholders interested in habitat enhancement and restoration on non-federal lands in SE Alaska.Objectives -Definitions -Process -Project Case Study - Resources and Partners
  3. 3. Principle: Definitions are important Ecological RestorationMerriam’s Dictionary- Practitioner’s <n>: 1. something that is restored; a representation orreconstruction of the act of restoring or thecondition of being restored.13.The re-establishment ofthe Charles II monarchy inEngland in 1660. ces.asp
  4. 4. Principle: Definitions are important• Rehabilitation: Replacing or restructuring a degraded ecosystem or habitat type with another productive type• Partial Restoration (Enhancement): Restoring some ecosystem function and some of the original, dominant species.• Complete Restoration: Restoring full ecological and physical function as well as the original species abundance and community composition.
  5. 5. Principle: Definitions are important• Mitigation: A regulatory requirement to replace or enhance on-site or off-site wetland areas destroyed or impacted by proposed land disturbances with created or restored wetlands. May also involve: Avoidance of impacts Minimization of impacts Compensation for impacts• Habitat Protection: The practice of acquiring real property or protecting habitat through legal instruments for the purpose of maintaining or restoring biodiversity.
  6. 6. Process: Idealized restoration project pathway• Initial Problem Recognition• Inventory (where are the problems?)• Assessment (what is the condition?)• Prioritization (which should we remedy first?)• Planning (all successful projects have a plan)• Survey and Design (sites are specific, and design requires input)• Permitting (structured exchange of information)• Implementation (construction skill and detail are important)• Inspection (is it being built per the plan?)• Project evaluation (did we achieve the desired outcome?)• Maintenance / Adaptive Management (it’s hard to get it just right …or conditions change)
  7. 7. Process: realistic restoration project pathway1. Initial Problem Recognition • Each of the these elements are2. Funding Procurement measured in months to years. – Inventory – Assessment • Almost all require interdisciplinary – Prioritization technical skills. – Planning •Most elements require fiscal3. Funding Procurement management skills for contractual – Survey and Design services. – Permitting - Implementation • Most funders are focused on – Inspection implementation .4. Funding Procurement – Project evaluation • Monitoring and evaluation rarely – Maintenance /Management completed.
  8. 8. Process: a useful restoration projectdevelopment guide1. Identify the project site location and its boundaries3. Identify the need for ecological restoration5. Identify restoration goals...21. Document the site history the led to the need for restoration...23. Establish the ‘reference’ system…35. Acknowledge the role of passive restoration…51. Publicize and prepare written account of project nes_ecological_restoration.asp
  9. 9. Resources: Inventory, Assessment, Plans•Anadromous Waters Catalog-recent updates in Juneau, Haines,Sitka, Yakutat•Fish Passage Assessments •Existing- TNF, DNR, Corporation lands •Ongoing- ADOT road system•Tongass National Forest WatershedRestoration Plans•Municipal Wetland ManagementPlans•Watershed Council products inYakutat, Haines, Skagway, Juneau,Klawock, Kasaan
  10. 10. Resources: Inventory, Assessment, Plans… What can they help you discern?Wetlands Land ownership Fish Habitat/ Channel Type Culvert locations and barriers
  11. 11. Resources: Inventory, Assessment, Plans
  12. 12. Other resources- geospatial information• State Digital Archives- reference conditions (• SE Alaska GIS Library (• Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative (SDMI) (
  13. 13. Other resources- people• State, federal, NGO, and tribal staff • SE AK Fish Habitat Partnership• Public works directors, engineers, planners maintenance staff• Landowners & community committees
  14. 14. Case Study- Sawmill Creek, HainesStream channel relocation and culvert removal.- Background- Design- Implementation- Monitoring
  15. 15. Case Study- Sawmill Creek Haines, AK • Goal – Increase aquatic habitat area, complexity, and connectivity for cutthroat trout and coho salmon. • Objectives: – Replicate pattern, profile, and pool-riffle sequence of upstream ‘reference reach’. – Increase spawning area and availability. – Bypass one culvert and remove another. – Encourage community involvement in stream stewardship.
  16. 16. Sawmill Creek BackgroundWest Fork Sawmill Creek • Stream routed to ditch along road. Site used for goat pasture. CT • Channel bisected by culverts, some of which affect fish passage. • Listed as an Impaired Waterbody by DEC in 1996 due to sediment. • ADFG conducts periodic foot surveys, so some fish use information known CO, DV, CT • CT, CO, DV, spawn and rear downstream • CT only isolated above culvert
  17. 17. Case Study - Sawmill Creek, Haines, AKDevelopment Phase • Investigate background information • Form interdisciplinary project team • Coordinate funding and community support • Conduct survey and design • Conduct hydrologic analyses
  18. 18. Case Study - Sawmill Creek, Haines, AKProject Team • USFWS and ADFG – Project coordination • Design Consultants – Survey, design, hydrology, and layout • Takshanuk Watershed Council – Community liaison and outreach/education • Construction contractors/Americorps – Excavation, materials, and labor
  19. 19. Design PhaseElements of a stream relocationdesign are shared with otherconventional developmentprojects:•Purpose and Need•‘User’ type•Capacity•Slope•Conveyance of surface water•Land and construction cost•Constructability•Surface/substrate material•Planting plan
  20. 20. Principle: importance of designWhen basic elements of astream relocation plan anddesign are omitted, it oftenresults in:•Simplification of habitatcomplexity•Reduced species diversity•Reduced species density•Non-attainment ofrestoration or mitigationobjective
  21. 21. Site Survey and Design- Sawmill Cr. • Topographic survey, cross sections, reference reach • Longitudinal stream profile • Habitat unit details • Design report • Order of operations
  22. 22. Implementation Phase• Staking and excavation• Culvert removal• Substrate and LWD placement• Flow introduction• Fish rescue• Site maintenance
  23. 23. Field interpretation and design layout
  24. 24. Equipment workpad minimized riparian disturbance Pools and riffles rough shaped
  25. 25. Culvert , fill prism removed and channel re-shaped
  26. 26. Americorps hand-placedstreambed gravels
  27. 27. Design provided guidance Grade controls defined pool depth and shape
  28. 28. Finished Pool-Riffle sequence and… Community assisted with fish rescue opened new channel to in abandoned channel flow…
  29. 29. Former ditch/creek Final reach re-alignment
  30. 30. Project Outcomes• Increased reach-scale habitat diversity (small pools) and connectivity (removed/bypassed barriers).• Decreased potential for lateral roadside sediment input.• Increased community linkages. – Borough-Agencies-Public-Watershed Council• Created initiative to purchase project site for stream protection and student education.• Encouraged ADOT replacement of upstream culvert barrier
  31. 31. Project Monitoring• Seasonal fish trapping – Roughly gauged fish use and re-colonization• BMI sampling – Gave insight into benthic macro-invertebrate colonization of streambed.• Photopoints – Documents site recovery and stream channel migration.
  32. 32. Principle: Restoration projects cost a lot more than you think (not including project management costs) Stream simulation culvert replacement = $60,000-$100,000 (no utility conflicts or pavement) Wetland enhancement = $20,000-$60,000 acre (+ land and/or easement cost) Removal of infrastructure from acquired lands = $20,000-$30,000 (+ appraisal and contaminants abatement cost) Invasive Plant Control = Annual $ Cost x Years Viability of Seed Bank
  33. 33. Principle: Restoration projects generally take more time than you think 2000 post construction 2006 “IPR” 2009 wetland maturation 2009 ‘AFTER’
  34. 34. Limiting Factors GoverningPartnerships and Restoration Projects • Issue/problem recognition • Agency priority/jurisdiction • “Not my job…” • Staff availability and attrition • Money/Match
  35. 35. Resources-Federal- State-• USFWS- Habitat • ACWA Program Restoration Program, • ADFG AKSSF Program Tribal Wildlife • DNR CIAP Program Program• NOAA –Restoration NGO- Center • National Forest• USFS- RAC Program Foundation• NRCS- WHIP/EQIP • National Fish and• EPA- multiple Wildlife Foundation programs • Trout Unlimited