Partner Meeting

Date:   October 16, 2012, 9:30 am – 2:00 pm PST

Venue:   Panhandle State Bank, Sandpoint, Idaho

 

Participants:

 

Name Affiliation Telephone Email
Craig Brengle ACOE 208/437-3133 craig.s.brengle@usace.army.mil
Nancy Chin ACOE 206/764-3590 nancy.l.chin@usace.army.mil
Lan Nguyen ACOE 206/465-0289 Lan.nguyen@usace.army.mil
Beth Reinhart ACOE 280/765-8971 mary.e.reinhart@usace.army.mil
Nate Hall AVISTA 406/847-1281 nate.hall@avistacorp.com
LeAnn Abell BLM 208/769-5036 labell@blm.gov
Doug Evans BLM 208/769-5020 devans@blm.gov
Carrie Hugo BLM 208/769-5048 chugo@blm.gov
Bill Maslen BPA wcmaslen@bpa.gov
Lee Watts BPA 503/230-4625 vlwatts@bpa.gov
Chris   Bonsignore DU 509/599-4216 cbonsignore@ducks.org
Brian Heck DU 509/922-6497 bheck@ducks.org
Susan   Drumheller ICL 208/265-9565 sdrumheller@idahoconservation.org
Chip Corsi IDFG 208/769-1414 chip.corsi@idfg.idaho.gov
Kathy Cousins IDFG 208/771-3373 kathy.cousins@idfg.idaho.gov
Gregg Servheen IDFG 208/287-2713 gregg.servheen@idfg.idaho.gov
JJ Teare IDFG 208/769-1414 jim.teare@idfg.idaho.gov
Jamie Brunner IDL 208/263-5104 jbrunner@idl.idaho.gov
Ed Robinson IDL 208/263-5104 erobinson@idl.idho.gov
Ray Entz Kalispel Tribe 509/445-1147 rentz@knrd.org
Kevin Lyons Kalispel Tribe 509/445-1147 kjlyons@knrd.org
Erin Mader POBC 208/946-7397 lakescommission@gmail.com
Dave Derrick RRD 601/218/7717 d_derrick@r2d-eng.com
Ben Conard USFWS 509/891-6839 ben_conard@fws.gov
Scott Deeds USFWS 509/893-8007 scott_deeds@fws.gov

ACOE – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

AVISTA – Avista Corporation

BLM – Bureau of Land Management

BPA – Bonneville Power Administration

DU – Ducks Unlimited

ICL – Idaho Conservation League

IDFG – Idaho Department of Fish and Game

IDL – Idaho Department of Lands

POBC – Pend OreilleBasin Commission

RRD – River, Research and Design

USFWS – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  

1.  (9:30 am PST) Introductions and Sign-in

2.  (9:45 am – 10:00 am) Welcome and Opening Statement

Chip Corsi welcomed the participants with a quote from Aldo Leopold, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community.”  Corsi expressed how thrilled he was to see so many participating agencies and organizations and how he hoped the restoration project would move forward in a collaborative and partnering atmosphere.  Corsi viewed the group gathered as a “think tank” and he hoped that everyone would come away from the meeting with a clear picture of what needs to be done and paid attention to, and aware of a short time frame for the work to occur.  He looked forward to hearing everyone’s ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Corsi concluded by introducing Kathy Cousins, noting that he expected her to figure out how best to approach the challenge and solicit solutions from the group.

3.  (10:00 am – 10:30 am) Why a Project in the Clark Fork River Delta, and Why Now?

Kathy Cousins started by reiterating comments made by Corsi that participation by everyone in the room was greatly valued and that good working partnerships were vital for having the project come to fruition. She presented a mix of historical and current photographs of the Clark ForkRiver delta showing the land area changes over time.  She explained that the delta serves to provide connectivity between lowland and upland areas, and lies between two mountain ranges.  Many wildlife species migrate through and depend on the delta for food and cover.  The delta is also an area of sediment transport and deposition, and the delta wetlands serve to generate nutrients and improve water quality.  The Clark   ForkRiver delta is also socially and economically important to the local community, as well as the area has tremendous cultural significance for several tribes.  Cousins continued to explain and show how the altered hydrology of LakePend Oreille has impacted the delta’s wetland areas, and provided estimates of shoreline erosion rates.  She noted that the PackRiver delta restoration project, demonstrated that it is possible to restore portions of a delta area, and so the thought was to try and complete similar work in the Clark ForkRiver delta by protecting the habitat that remains and then try to restore wetland habitats behind the protection.  She concluded by presenting a draft project goal, outlining draft project objectives and emphasizing the tight timelines to implement the project.

Daft Project Goal

Protect, improve and restore key riparian and wetland habitats and their ecological function in the Clark ForkRiver delta.

Draft Objectives

A. Protect delta shorelines from erosion

Strategy:  A combination of “hard[1]” and “soft[2]” engineered structures and vegetated riprap will be constructed to protect saturated wetland soils along the delta shorelines from slumping into the water when LakePend Oreille is drawn down.

Measure of Accomplishment:  feet of structures installed

Measure of Effectiveness:  a post- construction LiDAR flight; photographic points, surveyed cross-sections and bank pins taken annually for at least five years to determine rate of erosion along protected delta shorelines.

B. Protect existing island areas from erosion and create protective “barrier” island areas

Strategy:  The front of leading islands in the delta will be reinforced with vegetated “hard” and “soft” breakwater structures to protect them against scouring wave action.

Measurement of Accomplishment:  feet of structures installed; area of islands protected.

Measure of Effectiveness:  a post-construction LiDAR flight; annual observation to determine if erosion occurs due to wave scour action on island areas; photographic points, surveyed cross-sections and bank pins.

C.  A portion of the delta islands that are currently submerged will be raised to restore and expand wildlife habitat lost due to inundation

Strategy:  The height and stability of a portion of the summertime submerged delta islands will be increased to improve their ability to support high-value habitat for numerous species of waterfowl and wildlife, year-round.

Measure of Accomplishment:  acres of restored habitat

Measure of Effectiveness:  photographic points; GPS of restored habitat cover types; a post-construction LiDAR flight; land birds and waterfowl surveys as outlined in the State’s Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Projects.

D.  Increase wetland habitat diversity

Strategy:  The presence of noxious and invasive weeds on and near the restoration project area will be reduced and controlled prior to and during construction to prepare the restoration site for the establishment of native species.

Measure of Accomplishment:  survival and growth of native species; recruitment of native species like black cottonwood on restoration site.

Measure of Effectiveness:  photographic points; spatial inventory of planted vegetation; Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) surveys; vegetation cover surveys as outlined in the State’s Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Projects.

E.  Capture woody debris and encourage sediment deposition in the delta area

Strategy:  The project design will incorporate methods to increase sediment deposition within the delta area by constructing a combination of “hard” and “soft” engineered structures, capturing woody debris floating down the Clark ForkRiver, and by increasing the areas of wetland habitat cover.

Measure of Accomplishment:  acres of wetland habitat cover; acres of accumulated woody debris

Measure of Effectiveness:  a post-construction LiDAR flight; annual observations of restoration site; surveyed cross-sections.

 

4.  (10:30 am – 11:00 am) Examples of past accomplishments and what is possible/Clark Fork River Delta Restoration Project Vision/Concept (Part 1)

Brian Heck began by presenting an overview of the Pack River delta restoration project because he believed that a lot of the techniques used in the Pack River delta could be applied to the Clark Fork River delta.  He noted that the objectives for the PackRiver delta project were very similar to what is being proposed for the Clark Fork.  One of the biggest differences between the PackRiver and Clark ForkRiver deltas is their orientation.  The PackRiver delta is oriented north to south, while the Clark Fork is oriented east to west resulting in the Clark Fork receiving a large wind fetch along its western edge.  Heck reviewed the hydrograph for Lake Pend Oreille and explained how the different lake levels impacted the delta areas, noting that earth moving work can occur in the deltas only during the winter months when the lake is drawn down to 2,051 feet.  The work window can shrink by one or two months more due to increased river flows and flooding of the deltas during March and April.  Heck emphasized that having good access to a project area was critical for the project success.  Up to 2,000 feet of roadway to the PackRiver was improved by putting some fabric down and graveling soft areas.  Temporary roadways were also created within the PackRiver delta project area.  Access to the Clark ForkRiver delta is fairly good, but there are a couple of deep channels that require crossings.  Overall, the site conditions in the PackRiver delta are not as severe as those found in the Clark ForkRiver delta.

Working during the winter months has its challenges.  Heck noted that most construction activities are shutting down in the winter, but that is when things are ramping up for these delta restoration projects.  For instance, the project site can be covered in snow, and so the snow must be plowed before work can occur.  As the project work transitions into the springtime, then the contractors are working in thawing conditions.  Other considerations when working in the winter are weight restrictions on the roads making it difficult to move rock, large logs or other materials.  And, the time frame is not only constricted due to inundation issues by the lake and river flows, but is also constricted by the reduced daylight hours.

Heck then reviewed the techniques used to restore some of the wetland areas in the PackRiver delta.  Ground was raised to 2,064 feet on eight island areas in the delta, which is about two feet above the normal full summer pool.  Log and rock vanes were installed to redirect some of the PackRiver flows away from shorelines to reduce erosion.  Bank-full benches and willow fascines were installed to add some roughness structures and engineering log structures to increase sediment deposition within certain areas in the delta.  Heck also described how the rock and geotube breakwaters were constructed, noting that it is difficult to use the geotube technique in the delta areas because soil source for the geotube are too fine.  A portion of the rock breakwater was reconstructed with layers of soil choked willow cuttings between large rocks.  Heck was very encouraged by the success of this technique, showing how the willows have survived amongst the rock.  Heck stated that erosion protections using only “soft” techniques, such as logs and plantings did not work as well in areas where there are high energy erosion forces.  Woody vegetation grows much better when it is just a little bit above the full summer pool and so Heck recommended that all plantings be at least 6-12 inches above the full summer pool.  Also, recruitment of woody and herbaceous plants was greater on island areas rebuilt with soils from submerged areas, rather than on island areas where the earthen strippings were placed back on top.  This was because the strippings were composed primarily of reed canarygrass, and the reed canargygrass impeded the vegetation recruitment.

Heck then turned his attention to the Clark ForkRiver delta, suggesting that one approach to implementing the project would be to first protect the shorelines from erosion and create a protective barrier on the western edge of the delta.  This protection would involve a vegetative breakwater.  Heck noted that once the protection was in place, then the restoration work, similar to that completed in the PackRiver delta, could be completed behind the protection.  He believed that the project would need to be completed in phases because of limited budgets and the timing issues.  Heck envisioned Phase I would involve the northern island areas (Islands 7 and 4), including the drift yard area, and Phase II would involve the protection of White and Derr Islands shorelines.  Heck also suggested that the woody debris arriving to the delta could be incorporated into the restoration project to help build up island areas.  Currently, the woody debris is shunted up through a series of log booms up to the log yard and is either burned or used as firewood.  Heck proposed rearranging the log booms so that the woody debris could be shunted to different areas within the delta.  Heck then addressed access issues in the Clark Fork.  He noted that greatest challenges will be crossing a couple of deep channels, but proposed using either a floating bridge or pontoon bridge that can move with changing water levels.  He concluded by emphasizing the extremely tight timelines to complete the project as proposed and the need to have the winter lake level set at 2,051 feet.

Ed Robinson asked Heck if he knew the longevity of the engineered log structures.  Heck replied noting that the engineered log structures are mostly submerged and he hoped that they would last at least 20 years or longer.

Kevin Lyons asked if it would be possible to get a copy of the presentation for a meeting of the AlbeniFalls work group convening the next day.  Cousins replied that she would be able present it to the group.

5.  (10:30 am – 11:00 am) Examples of past accomplishments and what is possible/Clark Fork River Delta Restoration Project Vision/Concept (Part 2)

Dave Derrick, a Potomologist and fluvial geomorphologist, presented information on three techniques that could be applied to the Clark Fork River delta project.  He stated that energy management is the focus of the delta restoration project.  If there is too much energy, then the delta will lose area; if there is not enough energy, then there is deposition.  Derrick looks at any project for stressors and failure modes, and then researches how to bring back some levels of stability and functionality.  He recommends:  1) always preserve what is working well; 2) if a system is under stress, then you want to protect it; and, 3) once protected, then try restoring the area.

The first technique Derrick introduced was the Bendway Weir, a low elevation rock sill that can be used for shoreline protection.  The structure is constructed so it angles upstream, is low and level crested.  The rock sill is designed to work as a system to realign the thalweg.  Derrick explained how a Bendway Weir works and showed examples from projects on the Mississippi River, and the Neosho and Little Blue Rivers (Kansas).

Derrick presented information on a second technique called, “Locked Logs.”  This technique involves entire trees that are anchored within or under stone structures like Bendway Weirs.  These natural wood structures (entire trees in some applications) are typically underwater and provide hydraulic roughness and aquatic habitat.  Derrick also explained that if a project incorporates enough of these “Locked Logs”, then the increase in “roughness” will slow down the flow of water so ice will form first around the constructed objects and then thicken and ice all the way across the river.  When the ice starts to thaw in the spring, ice in the middle breaks and leaves, but all the ice around the constructed object stays.  Derrick recommended for the Clark Fork River restoration design, to roughen things up to slow water flows so ice forms first and forms thickest around the constructed objects.

The third technique Derrick described was the construction of Living Dikes planted in a grid pattern.  Derrick said he liked to plant vegetation parallel and perpendicular to the main flow in areas that might see flooding.  He showed an example on Onondaga Creek (New York).  In his example, rows of vegetation (mostly willows and dogwoods) were planted on a floodplain bench and planted in between the rows are more expensive container plants.  Derrick explained that when he plants vegetation, he plants it very dense so that it catches all of the debris.  First, contractors dig a large trench and then the willow cuttings are planted deep to where the water table is located.  Other woody plants can be planted in the same trench but not as deep.    Interestingly, the planted vegetation increases deposition.  Derrick reported that he found that there was more hydraulic roughness generated with woody material that had their leaves off (laboratory flume tests).  When the leaves are off, the plants do not bend as much as when the leaves are on. When the leaves are on, the leaves cup and become aerodynamic, but they still drag the poles over, reducing the hydraulic roughness.

Derrick concluded by stating that the methods he showed were not new and have been used since 1988, and tested by 100-year flood events.  These are solid methods and techniques in combination that will work really well in the Clark ForkRiver delta.  He noted that log veins had been constructed in the PackRiver delta.  He also noted that he has constructed a fair amount of the rock veins.  What he found with a lot of different projects was that the Bendway Weirs were about one third the cost and take about half the time to build compared to a rock or log vein.

Beth Reinhart began the question/answer session by asking who was going to be the lead federal agency.  Bill Maslen replied that he assumed that it might be BPA, but he did not know who all the potential players were.  Cousins summarized some of the roles of the participants.  Gregg Servheen asked what it meant in terms of the federal lead implications.  Reinhart answered that whichever agency has the lead will be responsible to coordinate all the consultations and coordination with tribes, with the SHPO, et cetera.  So that’s a major role.  And certainly if it’s going to be my role or their role, it’s important that we know that from the beginning.

Maslen noted that BPA did have a programmatic EIS, and he anticipated that they could do this work under that EIS, perhaps with some supplemental analysis.  He noted that BPA had this programmatic EIS for the Fish and Wildlife Program for many years and it has been very effective.  Other federal agencies, if they were comfortable or willing, could tier off of the BPA EIS, or they could subcontract.  Maslen said that BPA would rely on them as one of the primary liaisons for coordination, certainly when it came to the USFWS and the ESA.  Maslen said that typically when BPA implements projects under the Fish and Wildlife Program, they rely on the project sponsors to serve some of those primary functions of coordination.

Servheen noted that IDFG did have an existing project under that Program.  And so as continuing with that, working within scope of that project, IDFG would assume this would be a continuation if that works, as per Bonneville.

Cousins summarized that participants were suggesting that IDFG would be sort of the spearhead of the larger group, and would have the role of coordinating the project.

Kevin Lyons commented that there were specific set asides in Federal law that BPA, as the lead federal agency, cannot abrogate nor delegate.  That is under the consultation clauses of the National Preservation Act.  They would be the lead spokesperson for the group in that type of communication if, amongst the federal family, they decide to maintain leadership.  If it becomes a regulatory issue, it would be the U.S. ACOE under regulatory.  He noted that the IDFG was a third player.  Lyons concluded by stating that he was happy to work with any of them; however, the federal government cannot delegate that particular set of responsibilities to a state agency.

Maslen replied that with regard to cultural resources, BPA did have a programmatic agreement amongst the federal agency Bureau of Reclamation, in working with each of the individual tribes.  He noted that BPA staff work directly with Lyons and the representatives of other tribes as well, so he understood that this would be another component kind of parallel to the rest of the project.

Chris Bonsignore commented that he understood that about $19 million was needed to complete the whole project.  DU over the last five years working with IDFG has invested about $50,000 on the project.  Bonsignore said that DU wants to continue to be involved and invest in the project, but he needed to have a sense of where the money would come from.  He understood that BPA and Avista both had some mitigation responsibilities but he asked Cousins if she had a sense at this point of the need and then how that need would be met.

Cousins referred to the letter agreement that was included in the meeting packet for information regarding funding under the Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Project.  She noted that in the afternoon, Nate Hall would speak to the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement and what funding would be possible there.

Corsi closed the morning session of the meeting by summarizing that the post-presentation discussion was largely about administrative challenges.  He hoped that over the lunch hour participants would think about, based on what they saw in the presentations, the actual physical feasibility of doing a restoration project.  He stressed again that IDFG was looking to them as a brain trust not only on the administrative procedural stuff, but also if they were aware of what might work that has not been discussed or thought about.

6.  (12:30 pm –2:00 pm) Round-Robin Discussion with focus on common understandings, commitments, schedule and next steps.

BEN CONARD:  From a USFWS perspective we have a lot of interests here.  We have relationships, we have trust responsibilities.  Off the top of my head, the biggest issue or procedure we may have to go through is consultation, and the only thing I can think of would be bull trout.  So I thought I’d let Scott talk about what some bull trout issues might be and how easy a consultation that might be.  Other trust responsibilities, water fowl and whatnot, I just don’t see any major barriers. I think we can all work together.  One thing I’ve thought about is the Avista connection and the Terrestrial Resources Technical Advisory Committee.  My former role in Montana has never been backfilled, so I’ll probably be communicating with my counterparts in Montana to let them know what our interests are over here, and we can try to expedite that.

SCOTT DEEDS:  Our concern would be there are migratory bull trout that would be utilizing the area of the delta.  Juveniles coming out from tributary streams, whether it be coming down out of Montana or Lightning Creek, Johnson Creek.  So timing windows on when this would occur.  Obviously we’ve already heard a lot about wintertime would be the work windows.  Obviously the type of work being done, enhancing habitat for predators or the types of habitats that would be beneficial to native species and not be enhancing habitat for predators.  I think there’s enough information out there that those types of structures or those types of activities can be avoided.  And so those are the types of considerations that we’ll be looking at.  So I don’t know how complicated the consultation will be, because I’m not one of our primary consultation biologists, but obviously there’s a lot of work to be done and so we’ll have to, you know, work as a team to get through that.

Mr. CONARD:  Just judging from the things that pass before me, I’m not the person who would prepare the option or the concurrence but it doesn’t seem unusual in terms of bull trout consultation just from my perspective.

JJ TEARE:  One thing I think you’ll hear from the rest of Fish and Game and, what Kathy’s doing already, how important a project this is for us – one thing that people might not know, we actually manage quite a few acres on the delta already on a wildlife management –  Pend Oreille Wildlife Management Area.  And a lot of the areas are purchased by BPA previously or we have agreements with the Corps of Engineers to manage these properties – basically, property of wildlife and wildlife habitat.  Along with this, we also provide a huge recreation base there.  You cannot go out there right now without having every corner of that with a duck hunter there.  In the spring, the ramps are full of fishermen.  Just increasing those benefits for our recreational users out there are pretty immense to us, and to be able to do this in a sound conservation way.  And I think that’s really important.  Secondly, we do manage properties, we do have the infrastructure set up there with personnel, equipment, for long-term assistance to do the projects and help facilitate with Brian and whoever to help getting the project completed, but also for the long term management.  But we control public use management, so we have a lot of tools in place so I think that’s an important aspect of thinking about not just getting the project done and what level we get the project done, but what happens in the long-term future, and we’re very set up to do that and willing to take that task on.

CARRIE HUGO:  I wouldn’t be the point of contact or project lead for BLM so just from a purely wildlife perspective I can’t really see any reason why we wouldn’t want to all work together as much as possible to make it happen.  The photos are very telling of  what’s going to happen the longer we delay, so I would imagine and hope that BLM, as well as everyone else, will be on board to do as much as we can as quickly as we can.

DOUG EVANS:  And like Carrie said, the reasons why we’re doing this project are obvious, or why we’re attempting to do this project.  From a coordination standpoint, Kathy and I have talked a bit about some of the needs of the BLM, and we may be working on some type of memorandum of understanding that might be required.  Hopefully we can adhere to the programmatic EIS, BPA has.  I don’t see any issues that will prevent us from moving forward.  And LeAnn has been the lead on a BLM coordinated project up on the KootenaiRiver that I think would at least help us show us the framework of what this process would look like.

LEANN ABELL:  We are involved with the BPA Kootenai Tribe project here.  And so as far as that question of who would be the federal lead, that’s not really our place at this meeting to tell you what we know about that.  That would be our field manager that would sit down and talk to you.  And — but we worked really well with the entities involved up there, and this project sounds very similar as far as the coordination.  They’re a little bit farther ahead up there as far as putting the restoration plan in place.  They just started implementing it last fall, a year ago, and at the very first part of the project that they did start constructing was on BLM, and immediately adjacent to that.  So we’ve been through a similar project up north.  And I’m speaking with Dave Derrick just before the meeting started about — he said, “My, what an interesting result they had.”  So I’m looking forward to maybe being a technical for stuff like that.

BETH REINHART:  The project is very worthwhile.  Obviously there’s been a lot of work done, background work done, to support the project.  We saw similar — we went through this with the Pack River Delta.  And obviously that was a very successful project from a Corps regulatory perspective.  This is easily permittable by us as long as there are no issues with other agencies or entities such as the tribes.  Under a nationwide permit – it’s an expedited permitting process.  I think it’s a great project.  I think you’ve all done a great job putting this together.  Pre-election meeting is always really nice, ironing out the details of that type. So thank you.

Mr. DERRICK:  And you would be the Corps lead on that for regulatory?

MS. REINHART:  Yes.

CHRIS BONSIGNORE:  As I mentioned before, DU has been supportive of this project for several years.  The Clark Fork Delta is a recognized important water fowl area in Idaho.  I think peak numbers have been in the tens of thousands, particularly red heads – a diving duck that depends a lot on submerged aquatic vegetation.  You know, the degradation of the delta is certainly going to lead to, and already has, I’m certain of it — they haven’t been tracking the bird surveys in the last couple years, but looking at data over the last 10, I think it is pretty clear that its not supporting the number of birds it use to.  It is not the rich diverse environment that it used to be.  And I think that will continue to degrade.  You’ll lose more and more habitat and it will no longer be the important wintering area that it was.  And that’s a concern to us for sure.  There is only so many places like the Clark Fork Delta, you know, in the country, and I think it’s kind of our responsibility to make sure that we protect those areas and restore them to the best of our abilities. I think the plan that, you know, Brian and Kathy and Dave have put together, to me — I haven’t been as intimately involved with the planning as they have.  I’ll make that real clear. I can’t take credit for it.  But they’ve done I think a really good job with help from others, and I think it’s a sound plan.  And a little bit about Ducks Unlimited, in case you don’t know. I mean, we’re sort of an implementation organization, so we like to get habitat on the ground.  We are very focused on habitat, and we’re a nonprofit, which means we’re broke, so we rely pretty heavily on grant writing and leveraging the dollars that we do raise with our own fundraising.  So we’re happy to do that.  We do that regularly, and I think we want to stay very involved with the planning and implementation and even funding of the project.  And although that may not mean we write personal checks that are large, you know, we can help go get those.  So I’m excited about this opportunity.  I’m excited that we’re to this point in the process.  I know for some of us it’s been a long, you know, sordid road, and I think we’re going to get there, and largely due to some real heroes in the room. And I’m not talking about myself. And I want to do my part to help those folks get that done.

ERIN MADER:  I’m with the POBC.  And for those of you who aren’t familiar with what we do, I’m a coordinator for a board that’s an advisory group to the Governor’s office in Idaho, and we work on water quality and quantity issues in the Pend Oreille Basin in Idaho, and I think my board’s been very excited about this project happening ever since Kathy’s presented them about the Pack River restoration, and I think they’re going to be super excited as I bring more information about this to them.  And I think what we can offer — our biggest offering is community outreach to the local community, and feedback from the community, as well, and we can — we also have quarterly meetings where I’m sure we’ll have this as a topic a few times, for sure, and get community support, spread the information.  We can help search for funds.  We probably can’t provide any funds, but we can help in the search for them.  And we also are in great contact with all the state agencies and so we can be communication between those agencies.

CRAIG BRENGLE: I’m Craig Brengle with the ACOE at Albeni Falls Dam. We’re actually — separate us from Beth.  Beth is Corps regulatory.  We’re Corps operations, so our function is basically the operation of Albeni Falls Dam. Powerhouse generation, flood control navigation, recreation processes and fish and wildlife management conservation.  Our interests up in that area include both real estate interests.  We have lands there that we administer for the U.S. government that are then in license to Idaho Fish and Game.  And so we look to anything that’s being done on those properties.  We want to make sure that they’re done in accordance with appropriate NEPA considerations, biological assessments of endangered species, and then also cultural obligations.  And so we would be looking to contribute anything we can both on technical assistance for those considerations, for any real estate actions that may be needed up there, as well as any potentially need design issues, we may be able to provide some technical assistance as they start being designed.  We also have the drift facility up there that we maintain and so anything that happens up there we’d be looking at it from the drift maintenance and management concerns.  And then also we’re obviously tied into the operations of the lake and what happens on a yearly basis with lake management, so we may have things we can contribute there, as well.  From a funding perspective, locally our budgets are not looking good, and that’s why we asked some of our districts to talk about funding and other projects that the Corps may have that may be looked at for this project.

NANCY CHIN:  I’m Nancy Chin from the Seattle District ACOE office, the civil works branch, and we have a number of programs and authorities that we can partner with others on restoration and stabilization.  All of those authorities require a cost share sponsor.  They’re pretty complex and more than I can go into in two minutes.  But I did bring the brochure, and we can definitely talk more about different ways we potentially leverage funds that you already have to get some other civil works shares.

LAN NGUYEN:  I’m Lan Nguyen. I work with Nancy in the Seattle area.  Just to follow up, the brochure talks about the different possibilities to get funds for the project.

KEVIN LYONS:  Good afternoon. Kevin Lyons, Kalispel Tribe.  I wanted to first share with you that Clark Fork Delta is immediately adjacent to an integral part of the Kalispel Genesis story.  It’s from that land from that lake the Kalispell people identify their birth as a people.  So this project and these lands are very important to our community.  Tangible contributions to the efforts forward, the Kalispel Tribe’s Natural Resource Department has been engaged in an ongoing service contract with the Albeni Falls Dam project through the FSRPS, funded by the BPA, to provide cultural resource manage services on those government owned lands.  We anticipated the need on Clark Fork Delta, having witnessed the erosion over the past decade on these land forms, as a priority task, and have cleared about one third of the workload forward that you guys anticipate working on.  The briefing today or this morning helped me refine what our next task loading is for this season.  So your immediate workload should be clear of the reviewing parties.  Although the tribe is a reviewing party, it is not the only reviewing party.  There are other stakeholders at the table that have to weigh in on the evidence they see and the recommendations.  I thank Kathy for volunteering that briefing tomorrow with those stakeholders at the AlbeniFalls work group, the cultural resources, and that’s it for me.

RAY ENTZ:  I commit Kevin.  And, well, you know, we’re committed, I guess, that — it seems like a strange word to use.  “Committed, I guess.”  We’re sort of firm and we’re working toward the same — no.  We are committed to the project.  We’d like to see it happen.  We’d like to see it funded.  We have a – like Kevin said, it’s important to our community, so we will weigh in on plant species and design work.  I’ve personally spent 20 years doing erosion type projects in the Pend Oreille valley, so caution against — in this particular unit, anything with the word “soft” in it is not going to work.  You got ass backwards hydrology and you’ve got lots of contributing factors like fetch and wave and wind, recreation, boat wake activity.  So I think all that vegetation is going to play a lesser role in the actual stabilization of the land form.  It’s going to play a role in the habitat and what you do once you’re above the water level, but with an 11 foot annual withdraw within a low, low winter pool, high summer pool, you don’t have the hydrology necessary to support soft techniques to stabilize land form here, especially considering glacial lake sediment that this thing is sort of on.  They’re highly mobile erosive soil types in that kind of condition.  So with the different hydropower operation scenarios from upstream and downstream you have a confounding effect in the Clark Fork Delta that you can see that, the annual rates of erosion.  So caution with the word “soft” engineering design.  Strongly.  But yeah, we’re — I don’t know what funding we can bring to bear, but certainly we can be of assistance in leveraging other sources of funds as a contributor or supporter, and we’ll do that for sure.  We’d like to be able to kind of weigh in on design and sort of placement and that kind of thing that will weigh in strongly with the cultural surveys and making sure whoever the lead federal agency is can, you know, get the clearance through the state SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) in order to proceed on that end.  Again, and any other permitting, we’re all in to help in whatever way we can.

JAMIE BRUNNER:  The IDL manages navigable waters in the state as a public trust resource, and as such, under the lake protection act we would need an encroachment permit for this, and I would be the contact person for that, but I don’t see any huge issues with that other than the timetable required to go to public comment and all of those kind of details.  Ed Robinson who was here earlier had some comments that I’m going to convey for him, and he was just saying that’s something we would want to keep an eye on as this moves forward is when we start looking at how to divert large debris that’s coming into the system, we want to make sure that’s not becoming a potential navigational hazard.  That’s one of the things we would have to look at and probably address in our public comment and agency comments.  And then there was another question that he had on whether or not we had any private land that would be built up in this project.  Looked like it was probably all public lands.

MS. COUSINS:  That is correct. There are no plans for private lands at this time.

MS. BRUNNER: Okay. As long as it’s public land, I think talking to the program manager in Boise, we would probably need to look at also issuing an easement, but that shouldn’t be an issue.

CHIP CORSI:  I think this project has the opportunity for all of you to be partners in this – a major legacy type project in my view.  This delta, as Chris articulated, is a pretty unique and special place. It’s incredibly rich and diverse biologically.  It is melting apart.  I mean, as we’re sitting here talking, on a day like this, it’s going away.  When you look at that note on the wall now and think about what you saw out there at low pool important narrow spot between two mountain ranges that supports important species.  And I think given the synergy I think we can create here with partnerships, we’ve already got major players here, we’ve got opportunities to leverage federal dollars, and we have opportunities to leverage private dollars.  This is — the time is now to do this.  The longer we wait, the bigger the challenge becomes, the more difficult it becomes, and the less likely it will be successful.  And you know, Kevin spoke to the importance of the area to the Kalispel Tribe, certainly not going back as far, but from a personal standpoint it’s a place that I spent time with my kids poking around in there.  There are places in the delta that we used to hunt water fowl that we can’t hunt water fowl there anymore.  It’s not there anymore.  That’s a pretty short time.  So I think if we take advantage and figure out how to make this work is a way that it may be an incremental thing we’re going to have to figure out how we do this from a funding standpoint, but a way to actually start building this back.  I think the Pack River example certainly gives me great hope, and I recognize that’s a somewhat easier place to test drive things, but I think we’ve learned enough and I think we’re working with enough expertise that we can make a difference, and maybe none of us in the room are going to see it quite like that again, but maybe our grandkids are going to see it with mature timber on it.  Let’s do it.

GREGG SERVHEEN:  I think relative to trying to make this collaborative work and really make this gel, I think most of us, what we generally get frustrated with bureaucracies and organizations with is lack of progress.  And so I would just submit that in terms of the challenge and in terms of what we’ve got set up now, we have two main windows ahead of us.  One is the close one, which is the first window of the low lake, which is in the end of 2013, and then the one following after that, the 2014, and realizing that we have significant things ahead of us, my challenge is that let’s try to meet the first one, knowing we’ll meet the second one.  But I would submit going with what Chip’s calling for is we have a number of things we need to make sure they’re thoroughly addressed.  There’s no attempt to try to gloss over anything that we shouldn’t be looking at in detail, but to try and meet the first one and try and start moving ahead, and that that’s the best thing to make this partnership feel like we’re going to make progress is we all know our organizations are bureaucracies, there’s always another way we can find to do a stall or there’s another excuse, and I present that as being part of a — passing as the same thing.  So I’d submit first that I would like us to rise to that challenge for the first work window and try to look to get something on the ground as soon as possible to get this going.  And then also on the other side is to say that we have a really good start and we’re all the orgs and the bureaucracies, but I think the other context is the public side of things, which I know Kathy’s already got this in mind, but the idea from that context is other — and others have mentioned it — how do they get involved, how do they know what’s going on and how do they support when each of us is trying to raise money or push through the bureaucracy or make a case for funding or whatever that is, and I would submit that that be the other piece of the pie that we look at and try to at least support, if that’s the core team that brings that ahead or maybe individually organizationally we push this forward in terms of:  How do we best make the public aware of what’s going on?  How do we keep them informed?  How do we get them involved, make that not so much this bureaucracy thing, but the context of it’s their place. So they’re a part of it and we can — that’s the other non-present collaborators here that we want to get involved and keep appraised, and to the greatest extent possible make sure that we do that.

BILL MASLEN:  I don’t want to repeat everything that’s been said, but a lot of good points.  I know this is a long time coming, so what I hear people saying here is this is a good time in which we’re focusing on getting this on the ground, so we really appreciate that.  With regard to the bureaucracy, if we can focus on getting this done and not letting the perfect get in the way of the good, I think that would be good.  I think we’ve got some real expertise here in the room.  We have some expertise we can bring beyond just biologists, we’ve got hydro-geomorphologists, as well as that I think would love to participate as well as learn.  We’ve made an explicit commitment for the nearer term through what you’ve heard the letter agreement.  When we negotiated that, we anticipated a work window that over the last couple, three months I’ve heard may or may not be feasible, so is not to discount anything said.  Let’s do this work with what we know we have to work with as quickly as we can.  But that said that letter agreement is flexible.  We can move the money around, we can move — you know, we’ve got flexibility.  It’s the spirit of that agreement, not the exact words, and for example, it talks about one million dollars per year for three years.  Well, that’s not a hard constraint.  Let’s see.  I think we need to look at in the comprehensive; you’ve got a long-term big picture vision.  As we take incremental steps, it’s important to keep that in mind, because as you’ve noted, the mobilization is challenging, the work window is short, and so you — I think it’s important to make as much progress in each phase, whether it’s annually or whatever, but it’s in the context of the longer term because we were talking at lunch, access road, maybe there’s some infrastructure, so to speak, that’s needed over the long term, so I’m just — look at it in an interconnected phase and — with regard to the Corps, authorizations, if BPA’s funds while they are federal can be the nonfederal cost share associated with the Corps 1135 programs, I would agree they’re complex, but our funds can be used in that regard and we are doing that up down in the estuary.  So with that, I think I’ll — appreciate everybody being here and focus on getting some things done.

LEE WATTS:  I’ll be working very closely over the next several years with Kathy Cousins developing scopes of work, developing timelines, coordinating in-house facilitation with BPA services, our NEPA folks.  We do have some OSHA Resource folks who will be involved with the tribe.  So just as a little background, I’ve been involved for the last nearly 10 years with Albeni Falls Fish and Wildlife Mitigation.  It’s been a program within the Kalispel Tribe and Idaho Fish and Game that purchases the lands, mostly in basin, but even out-of-basin.  We acquire the lands, mitigation of lands, then enhance and restore them.  It’s in my opinion that a lot of the work we’re about to do fits in the mold of what we’ve been doing kind of all along within Albeni.  This is a larger scope, but I think it still fits with the overall goal of the AlbeniFalls program.  So if I don’t hear any objections to that, I think we can keep rolling as we have been.

NATE HALL:  Don’t have a lot to add as far as the values.  I think everybody here understands what the value of the delta is.  Personally and also through Avista and through the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement, we understands the merits of that and are excited that we’re to a point now where we can start addressing those things.  We do have a commitment for a financial obligation to it.  I think from the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement and all the signatories to that, there’s very much support in doing that, as well. From a corporate end, the sooner we can get a timeline of when those dollars would need to be coming out, it will be very helpful.  It will be helpful for me taking it to upper management, but we’re in.

SUSAN DRUMHELLER:  The ICL work statewide to protect our water quality, our wildlife, wetlands, air quality, across the state, and we represent about 20,000 supporters statewide.  We have, you know, a vested interest in protecting our wetlands and wildlife, so we think this is a real important project.  We’d like to see the bleeding stop in the Clark Fork delta.  There has been a lot of eloquent statements about how important this area is and we concur.  And I think it’s listed as among the top ten wetlands in the state, as well, so it’s a really important area, and we’re largely an advocacy organization so we use a lot of different tools in that work.  This is a high priority for us.  We like to see work done there to protect the area, stop the erosion and enhance the habitat.  We’re still working out exactly what our role could be in this effort, but one thing I think we do pretty effectively is, you know getting people involved and doing public outreach, so I think that’s one thing we could probably help with.  I did help with a little bit of the planting in the Pack River Delta.  It was fun.  I think we could probably get a lot of people out to help with something like that.  So that’s one thing I could commit to.

DAVE DERRICK:  Tough situation out there just because of forces and stressors, and I think that the redirective methods or the kind of river training structure methods, the Bendway Weirs, things of that nature, are going to be really paramount in getting those designed correctly to reduce a lot of these forces like Ray was talking about.  I mean, you’ve got relatively bad soils.  The soft approach to design is not going to work by itself and that’s understandable, but there’s a lot of ways, and I’ve worked all over the country from the Poconos to everywhere else, where even in these really high stress high energy situations you can integrate a lot of vegetation into your hard structures and it’s got to be that way, so I think that that’s — that the amount of energy out there and how we manage that energy is going to result in — that’s going to be paramount to getting good results and long-term functionality without a whole bunch of maintenance. And the other thing – if it’s incremental, you know, get started.  I’m hearing that again and again.  It’s melting.  We need to get stuff going out there.  But even if you get part of it working and the public’s out there and see it and understand it, it’s very hard to come up — I teach all the time.  It’s even hard for professionals to understand what you’re talking about.  And we go on field sites and people kind of know what’s going on.  Once they get on a site and they can see exactly how the water’s acting and interacting with the structures we put out there, then they see it.  It comes to them; they can walk on it, look at it, think about it, and bring the kids out, the grandkids.  So that’s an important concept to get something in the ground, use the good science, Pack River lessons, and get some of the energy and information from those projects that have worked and get that in the ground so that people can understand exactly how it’s going to work, and they can see how it’s going to function over time.

BRIAN HECK:  I appreciate you coming out to this meeting.  I’ve spent a lot of time on the Clark Fork Delta over the last six years, so I’m hoping we can kind of step forward and start going into the details on stuff, and I guess, you know, as far as DU’s role is in the future, I guess it’s uncertain.  I don’t really know.  Certainly both Chris and I would like to be involved in some manner; we can bring some expertise out to this particular project.  I would like to kind of second what Ray and Dave said.  I think you got to be cautious in terms of using soft techniques if we’re talking soft techniques equaling, you know, live vegetation to do stuff.  There is a zone where I think that’s appropriate and a zone where that’s not going to be very effective. Certainly incorporating other components into the rocks I think, such as the locked logs and other entities, that’s stuff we can look at.  In terms of the people around this table, I think there’s a lot of expertise, there is a lot of people that have done restoration, and I see that being needed as far as that expertise, delivering this type of project.  Everybody needs to come together and give what their experience is, whether it’s nationally or region-wide.  Take all that, we can get the best project available. I’m not naive.  I know the PackRiver is no Clark Fork. Certainly, there are several factors such as scale differences and I think stress differences in what happens out there.  So I don’t think any of us are kind of naive going into the Clark Fork project.  It would be nice to get something started.  If nothing else, that would be a huge accomplishment.  And hopefully we can form a team that will put this thing on the ground.

KATHY COUSINS:  Thank you, everyone, for your comments.  My comments, as others have mentioned before me, the Clark ForkRiver delta is one of three deltas in the system and all of them are important.  This delta is much larger than the rest and very important not only for improving water quality for the lake, but also for fish and wildlife resources and for the people, including the tribes who value this area, very much so.  The reason why this project is so attractive to me, having been the mitigation staff biologist for the past eight years, is that it will actually address the impacts that the dam has on the land directly.  And that is very attractive to me, and it is repairing habitat that the dam is taking away, and we can then bring some of that back.  And so for me, when I hear everyone speak from ESA concerns, NEPA concerns, permitting concerns, cultural resource concerns, all of that we had, as well, with the Pack River Delta and the project was accomplished its goals –  but this time it’s just a little bit larger of an area and we have more things to think about.

Open Discussion

Cousins suggested that the group start the open discussion session with the question that was posed prior to breaking for the lunch hour – who would be the lead federal agency?  Reinhart stated that from the ACOE regulatory stand point, they would be amenable having BPA be the lead federal agency.  Lyons commented that a sister agency, BLM was represented without leadership at the table.  He suggested that all three of the federal agencies needed to have a conversation regarding which agency would be the lead agency.  Abell noted that this should occur.

Maslen noted that one of BPA’s responsibilities under the Northwest Power Act is to protect, mitigate and enhance the effects of the federal dams on fish and wildlife resources through other partners.  Maslen noted that BPA staff are not out in the field and are not doing that mitigation themselves.  His point was not to not take away responsibility for actions that BPA are responsible and accountable for, but to note that they contract with State agencies, tribes and other non-governmental organizations and then they work alongside them to address things that are explicitly a federal responsibility.  And in this case, he believed that the state would reach out and facilitate that coordination.  Maslen did not want the participants to have an expectation that BPA, as a lead organization, is going to do something that they did not typically do in their mitigation program.

Cousins summarized by noting that the group suggested that there needed to be a future discussion between BPA, ACOE and BLM and she asked who was going to take responsibility for lining up that discussion and getting back to the group with an answer?  Corsi asked if it was appropriate for the state to facilitate that discussion?  Maslen said that he would take the assignment to coordinate a meeting between the federal agencies and report back to the group on who would be the lead.  Evans agreed to coordinate with their District Manager and they would contact Maslen.

Hugo noted that with the Hideaway Island project, the Kootenai Tribe functioned as it is proposed that the IDFG would function, i.e., coordinating everything, but BPA would be the lead for the NEPA process and consultation.  Abell added that BLM had to do the NEPA document.  The difference with the Kootenai project was that BLM became involved much later in the process.  Reinhart stated that from the ACOE regulatory standpoint, this was similar to the KootenaiRiver restoration project.  She said the Kootenai Tribe was the applicant, BPA provided funding, BPA was the lead federal agency, and the ACOE was second to BPA.  BPA included the ACOE when they initiated consultation under ESA, so that the ACOE were covered for the permitted action.  Reinhart noted that, therefore, BPA and the ACOE have worked this way in the past, and it has worked out well.

Cousins then raised the question of how to fund the project noting the letter agreement and that some of the funding would be under the Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Project.  Watt replied that the contracting would be a fairly simplistic mechanism and would establish a third contract under the AlbeniFalls program.  He believed that the funding would be made available in fiscal year 2013.  Maslen said that BPA could make it available as soon as it was determined what it was that everyone wanted to do.  He noted that when they negotiated the letter agreement, they anticipated most of the money would be spent on the ground, but they also recognized there was planning, permitting to do in advance.  Once BPA had an understanding of what was being proposed when, then they would start obligating the money.  Watts noted that he would work with Cousins to develop a scope of work, getting the proper work elements, and getting a line item budget established for a contract.

Cousins noted that the first need was to develop planning and engineering designs as that would direct the budget for the construction work, plant orders, as well as would be needed for all the permitting, BA preparation, NEPA and ESA consultation.  Heck agreed, and also noted that a project manager and a design team would be helpful to assist in pulling information together for the plan and engineering design.  Cousins is to coordinate setting up a design team to get the project laid out as quickly as possible.

Hall then summarized that the Avista and Clark Fork Settlement Agreement process is to have draft proposals ready by the December 1st, which ultimately would be approved in March 2013.  Hall noted that there was flexibility in that time line, recognizing that things don’t always follow that schedule.  And he would have to take a look, but he believed that there would actually be some dollars available sooner for helping with some of the planning.  He stated that knowing the needs in the next couple months would be pretty critical.

Cousins questioned the short time lines and whether it was reasonable to put work on the ground by the fall/winter of 2013.  Servheen stated that he preferred the approach that the group say they can do this work and that they ask how we can do the work in the time line outlined in the letter agreement.  He appreciated that these are very complicated, difficult projects, but he also wanted the group to make the most happen as early as possible.  Entz agreed with Servheen, stating that everyone would all have to step it up and he honestly thought it was a doable time line.  There was more discussion regarding the project timing and Cousins was assigned to develop a time line with the design team identifying critical pathways. drop dead dates and meeting windows.  Regarding the ESA consultation, Conard suggested that someone complete the BA on the action side and the USFWS would team up with the partner, and together they would develop the BA in parallel.  Conard said that then the USFWS could flip the document almost immediately and there would not be long turnaround on the opinion, and it would be hand in hand the whole way.  Even if a formal consultation was required, Conard stated that there would be no reason the deadlines could be met if documents were completed in parallel.

Hugo suggested that all emails should have a header that read, “Every week you wait and don’t respond to this, another foot of the island, area 7, is gone.”  Cousins noted that they were developing a logo that shows the lost habitat in the delta and that this could be used in emails.  She asked if she could append the logos/shields for all participating entities along the bottom of the figure, and everyone was in agreement with that proposal.  Corsi humorously offered that the words “Delta Force” be added along the bottom of the figure.

Cousins asked Brengle his thoughts on the possibility of being allowed to redirect the woody debris that is currently shunted to the drift yard.  Brengle replied that he could only speak in general, noting that there are others above him who would need to be involved, but he felt that anything is up for discussion.  Brengle agreed to be on the design team said that he would certainly take on the responsibility to look to the ACOE District office to see if an engineer or whoever would be appropriate, would want to participate on the team as well.  He noted that if there was a compelling good argument for changing how that system’s working because of the benefits it would provide, then the ACOE certainly would be open to that.

Next, the group discussed communication tools for the design team, participants and the general public.  It was agreed that FTP sites were too cumbersome and Entz and Servheen suggested using programs like Base Camp or Central Desktop for communication amongst the participants.  It was suggested that a website for the public might contain goals and functions and what the project is trying to accomplish.  Bonsignore suggested that the webpage could have quarterly updates.  Maslen questioned how this would be managed?  Entz suggested that the webpage could have a separate log-in for a drop box where documents, maps and exchanges could be stored and accessed by entities working on the project.

Corsi noted that there might be other stakeholders, and what would these new stakeholders bring to the table?  Lyons reported that the U.S. Forest Service is developing a project on Lightning Creek, leveraging the National Forest Trust.  He wondered if the Clark Fork project could be cross-walked with that.  Corsi thought that was a reasonable question to ask.  Corsi recommended keeping other stakeholders in mind, as well as participating at quarterly Lakes Commission meetings and other similar community meetings to meet the outreach and communication needs of the community.  Servheen suggested that Cousins send an email out subsequent to this meeting to all participants requesting, “We’re building this schedule. If there’s anything that you know that we need to build in, please send it to us.”  Maslen recognized that everybody has a large workload so he suggested that communication between partners could be arranged by teleconference.  Cousins agreed with Maslen, noting that it was always beneficial to have that first face-to-face meeting so everyone knows who they are talking to when on a teleconference call.  In that, Cousins expressed her appreciation of all the participants making the effort to attend in person and to get to know each other before embarking on a new project.  Noting no other questions, Cousins concluded the meeting by thanking the participants for their time, whereupon, the meeting was adjourned at 2:05 pm.

[1] “Hard” engineered structures meaning structures constructed with rock and vegetation.

[2] “Soft” engineered structures meaning structures constructed with wood and vegetation.

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