Design Team Meeting

Venue:  IDFG Panhandle Office, 2885 Kathleen Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho  83814

When:  February 4, 2014

 Meeting Minutes

Purpose:   The main purpose of the meeting is to present the 90% design to the full design team for the Phase I of the Clark Fork River Delta Restoration project.  Other topics that will be discussed are Permitting and website, cultural resource study, Access Improvement Design (Terragraphics) scheduling, budgets, contracting, White and Derr Island.

 

Participants:

Kathy   Cousins IDFG 208/771-3373 kathy.cousins@idfg.idaho.gov
Brian   Heck DU 509/922-6497 bheck@ducks.org
Dave   Derrick RRD 601/218-7717 d_derrick@r2d-eng.com
JJ   Teare IDFG 208/769-1414 jim.teare@idfg.idaho.gov
Nate   Hall Avista 406/847-1281 nate.hall@avistacorp.com
Craig   Brengle ACOE 208/437-3133 craig.s.brengle@usace.army.mil
Betsy   Hull ACOE 208/437-7219 Betsy.L.Hull@usace.army.mil
Mike   Stevenson BLM 208/769-5024 mike_stevenson@blm.gov
Lee   Watts BPA 503/230-4625 vlwatts@bpa.gov
Brian   Marker DU 208/830-4258 bmarker@ducks.org
Scott   Brown DU   (Terragraphics) 208/610-1157 Scott.Brown@terragraphics.com
Steve   Liske DU 360/885-2011 sliske@ducks.org
Chris   Bonsignore DU 509/599-4216 cbonsignore@ducks.org

 

Permitting Update

The meeting began with an update on the permitting and cultural resources survey status.  The draft environmental assessment (EA) is now out to the public for comments.  The draft EA can be found on the BPA website.  The public comment period will end on March 3, 2014.

It was noted that the preparation of the draft EA took longer than expected and so now the project’s implementation schedule has no time between when the FONSI and ROD are issued to when work is needed on the ground.  This means that selection of a contractor and preparation of contracts for the construction work has to occur without a completed NEPA process.  Guidance was provided that this work (as well as preparation of line item budgets and Pisces SOW development) could be completed prior to the issuance of the ROD and FONSI as long as everyone is informed and language added to bidding packages and contracts that the agencies have not yet decided to fund the project.

Also, the cultural resources survey is now complete.  There are still a few small areas that could not be accessed, but it is the opinion of the Kalispel Tribe that the delta does not need to be surveyed to 100%.  Over 900 acres have been surveyed in detail and two possible conflict areas were identified. The consultation for the cultural resources in the project area is still on-going.  We are waiting for direction from the agencies.  It was noted that a letter has been sent to SHPO.  Cousins, Heck and Brown met with the USFWS in December (BPA on the telephone) to discuss the project.  Quite a few details are still undeveloped for the second Phase of the project (i.e., White and Derr Islands), and it is also known that bull trout are present all year in this area.  The Service suggested that the BA and ESA consultation focus on the first phase of the project, as this phase is less likely to impact bull trout, and is also more developed and better described.  A second draft biological assessment (BA) was prepared will be submitted to the USFWS most likely this week.

Cousins and Heck plan to meet in latter February with Ed Robinson, Idaho Department of Lands, to meet the agency’s new hire for their regulatory office and to bring them up to speed with regards to the project design and plan.

 Project Design Update

The engineered designs are now near 90%.  Work on the storm water plan is still on-going.

Heck briefly reviewed the recent work completed in the Pack River delta.  The permitting for the Pack River delta restoration project allowed for follow up repairs and maintenance work.  In November, Heck, Derrick and Cousins worked with Woods Hauling and Crushing (the original contractors for the work completed in 2009) to build five Bendway weirs and a short vegetated breakwater fronting Island 7.  Lessons learned in the Pack River delta project was that large woody log vanes do not work well in main channels (they worked best in secondary channels) and the depth for woody planting is restricted to above the full water summer pool.  This effort also allow Heck to obtain some rock and hauling costs.  Heck noted that overall the keyed-in rock (5-10 inches in diameter and some larger up to two feet) Bendway weir is easier to construct, more effective and will last longer than the log vanes, and the engineer can also make adjustments as the structure is being built.  These structures could also be built in the summer when the lake is at full pool using barges, whereas it is more difficult to construct log vanes in that condition.

Some of the new details added to the 90% plan was the addition of emergent benches to the back of protective structures.  Heck showed the plan to have emergent fill areas between Bendway weirs on the south shore of Area 7.  These areas could be planted with cattails and bulrushes.   Heck said he was also thinking about adding some additional vegetated riprap, like the one recently constructed in the Pack River delta, in certain areas of the interior of Area 3.

It was noted that the conditions in the Clark Fork River delta are not static; for instance, in December during a guided tour Heck saw the water rise in a channel (located between Areas 7 and 3) about a foot in less than one hour.  Heck presented an idea to use a rented mat system for access roads.  These mat systems can float, hold up to 100,000 lbs. and are movable.  Heck and Derrick noted that the soft soils in the delta can get pretty soft when heavy machines are traveling back and forth; a track truck became stuck in the Pack River delta soils and this was with only a few passes.  Heck and Derrick think that the movable mats will reduced the threat of getting large machines stuck in the mud and will also allow passage over shallow water areas.  This has to be researched further.

Brengle noted a concern over using the drift wood from the ACOE log yard.  He noted that the project proposed to place the drift wood on top of newly created fill areas to provide some habitat structure.  The concern is that this wood might enter the lake if a flood event occurred and the woody debris was not anchored to the ground.  Engineers noted that larger logs and root wads could be anchored and partially buried.  Group agreed that the goal was to try to keep wood from entering the lake, and so the engineers will take this into consideration.

Brengle also noted that he had sent out a position paper within the ACOE (including to their Public Affairs Office) explaining the project and the ACOE role in the project and he said that all replies were positive and no red flags raised.

Heck reviewed some of the volumes and costs for completing the project.  Brown reviewed the Phase I access road way and barging plans.

Webpage and Monitoring Update

Cousins reviewed the webpage and how it can be useful for education, notifying the public, planning events and soliciting volunteers for monitoring and planting efforts.  A planting/monitoring meeting is scheduled for February 20, and at this meeting team leaders will be identified for willow collection, planting and monitoring efforts.  Regarding the monitoring efforts, Dr. Alex Fremier from the Washington State University (WSU) is newly contracted to monitor the project site for erosion and vegetation establishment using scanning terrestrial LiDAR.

The group also suggested that time lapse photography of the construction be collected and posted on the webpage.  Another suggestion was to use drones to photograph the site.

The total projected cost for completing all of Phase I is estimated at $10.6 million.  It was noted that this is just an estimated cost and that the real costs will be known once the contractors submit their bids for completing the work.  Heck said that the estimated cost will most likely go down; but this is not a given.

The total amount of funding that is currently available is less than that.

A lengthy discussion then ensued regarding how to tackle the project with the funding available.  It was noted that future funding from BPA may come in FY15 or FY16.  It was suggested to keep costs mainly in materials.  Watts suggested to prepare a single direct implementation contract.

After an hour of discussion, the group decided that the bid package out to the contractors would involve completing all of the protection and restoration activities for Area 3, and the roadways to Areas 11 and 7.  No protection or fill work would occur in Areas 11 or 7.  There are three different fill areas in Area 3, and so if the bids came in over budget, then one of the fill areas could be dropped.

The bid package would also note to the contractors that more funds might be made available prior to construction.  The contractors are to prepare how they would complete the entire project if these funds did become available.

It was noted that if all of Phase I was completed in one winter, then the total cost to do the work would be much less because mobilization costs are significant for the project.

Rationale for the Area 3 only approach included:

  • There are enough funds to cover the costs to do Area 3.
  • Less work to do in the time period so less stress on contractors and volunteers.
  • Area 3 is the Area most affected so this area has a higher priority for protection.
  • Area 3 is the largest of all the areas, and so will provide the most restored wetland area.
  • No known cultural resource issues on Area 3.

The design team felt that only installing protection would not meet all of the project goal or objectives.  The team believed it was important to completely finish an area so that fish and wildlife benefits will be realized and the public will see what is possible.  Only building protection but no restoration will leave people wondering why so much money was spent with no noticeable benefits.

Also, after completing work in Area 3, and building the roadways to Areas 11 and 7, contractors might bid less for future work because they will have learned how to do the work in the delta.  New techniques might be learned and developed that will speed up future work.

The discussion then turned to how to bid out/contract/budget the work.  A request for proposal for habitat construction services would go out in late-March to the prequalified contractors.  Suggestions were to have a proposal based bid process that takes into account contractors’ approach, work schedule, personnel and experience, understanding of the project, management capabilities, as well as cost.  This would be put out as one contract for all components, including access roads and improvements, material supply and delivery (i.e., rock and trees), and all habitat improvement work.

Late-March –Sent out proposal components to contractors

April 7-11 – Pre-proposal meeting with contractors (site visit and take contractors to tree source)

May 2 – Proposal for habitat construction services due

May 5- 8 – Proposal evaluation and selection

May 9 – Contractor and costs identified

May 9 – 28 – Contractors’ line item budget and contract completed

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