The Yakama Nation (YN) Klickitat Watershed Enhancement Project (KWEP) is soliciting a Request for Proposals for Design Services for Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration (LTPBR) projects in the Klickitat Subbasin, south central Washington State.
KWEP works to restore, enhance and protect watershed function within the Klickitat subbasin. Work emphasizes restoration and protection of Endangered Species Act (ESA) -listed anadromous fish. Restoration activities focus on improving stream processes by resolving watershed constraints and improving habitat conditions and water quality factors in support of species recovery. Restoration actions implemented since 1997 have focused on addressing fish passage barriers, meadows restoration, floodplain reconnection, wood enrichment, and side channel reconnection. Tens of projects have been completed to-date, primarily involving significant design, earthwork, and construction costs. Despite twenty-plus years of focused watershed restoration work, degradation and physical process interruption continue to limit salmon productivity and prevent species recovery. Thus, KWEP is exploring the LTPBR approach to reduce individual project costs while increasing the spatial scope and influence of projects.
Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration is a practice of using simple, low unit-cost, structural additions (i.e. wood and beaver dams) to riverscapes to mimic functions and initiate specific processes (http://lowtechpbr.restoration.usu.edu/#). Hallmarks of this approach include:
- An explicit focus on the processes that a low-tech restoration invention is meant to promote
- A conscious effort to use cost-effective, low-tech treatments (e.g. hand-built, natural materials, non-engineered, short term, design life spans) because of the need to efficiently scale up application
- ‘Letting the system do the work’ which defers critical decision making to riverscapes and nature’s ecosystem engineers
KWEP and YN staff have been focused on beaver mimicry and beaver restoration approaches for several years and have been laying the groundwork to support this work. Notable progress relevant to this proposal includes:
- Conducted comprehensive inventory of meadows on the Yakama Reservation
- Contracted Utah State University to conduct Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) modeling
- Multiple staff attended LTPBR workshops (in-person and virtual)
- Awarded (2020) Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund to assist with capacity-building for the Wishpush Working Group (YN, Mt. Adams Resource Stewards, Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group [MCFEG] and friends)
- Partner (MCFEG) awarded (2020) Salmon Recovery Funding Board Grant for beaver restoration activities in Mid-Columbia region
- Assembled/constructed beaver holding facility at YN Klickitat Field Office (Klickitat, WA)
- Multiple staff attended WDFW Beaver relocator training; contemplating certification process
- Collaboration with Heritage University and YN Tribal School to involve students in the study of wildlife/habitat interactions with a focus on beavers
Generally speaking, the primary factor limiting salmonid productivity in the Klickitat subbasin is over-summer survival due to lack of perennial habitat. The second, closely related to the first, is the quantity and quality of juvenile rearing habitat. Given the current conditions and climate change projections such as those conducted by the University of Washington for Tribal lands (see RFP), these problems are expected to be exacerbated over the coming years. The UW model output below suggests a 42% decrease in summer streamflow for the upper Klickitat River by the end of the 21st century.
In an attempt to address current conditions and buffer against future scenarios, the LTPBR approach is to be employed in the Klickitat watershed in order to increase system resilience through species abundance, species diversity, riparian expansion, increased temporary water storage, and flood attenuation. The sites identified below represent a subset of suitable sites developed via professional judgment, watershed assessments, meadow inventories, and BRAT modeling. These 11 sites represent high-priority sites for either primary salmonid usage and/or watershed position, where restoration would aid reaches downstream. These sites have low stream/valley gradient, relatively wide alluvial valleys, and limited infrastructure. Anecdotal observations of these sites and other sites in the Klickitat subbasin suggest that a multi-prong approach to restoration will be necessary including structural elements, revegetation, grazing management, and beaver reintroduction.
- McCormick Meadow - 46.422491, -121.289346
- Caldwell Prairie - 46.412004, -121.231056
- Diamond Fork 1 - 46.463659, -121.195596
- Diamond Fork 2 - 46.476573, -121.226177
- Tepee Creek - 46.136704, -121.067258
- White Creek - 46.143892, -121.073336
- Summit Creek - 46.044276, -121.965708
- Brush Creek 1 - 46.103513, -121.029695
- Brush Creek 2 - 46.124630, -121.004854
- Little Klickitat River – no maps located on private land; will be pursued as funding and time allow; primarily field reconnaissance
- Swale Creek – no maps located on private land; will be pursued as funding and time allow; primarily field reconnaissance
While not all eleven sites may be advanced due to time and budget constraints, the intent is to advance a subset of sites through the BPA HIP III design review process and craft KWEP workflows for design, budgeting (crew and materials) and logistics (production rates, sequencing, hardware/equipment).