GSG Conservation Easement

Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Acquisition

Land or Easement Acquisition
Project ID17-Warm-03
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date04/01/2018
End Date06/30/2022
Year2017
StatusOngoing
Last Edited04/22/2022
 
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Description    


The GSG Conservation Easement is located in the Upper John Day Basin, approximately 5 miles southeast of Prairie City in the Reynolds Creek Watershed. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon consider this watershed a priority for critical cold-water salmonid habitat for the wild runs of summer steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). There are several native resident fish species that would benefit from the protection of this property, including bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). The Reynolds Creek Watershed is considered a stronghold for all salmonids in the basin; it provides the cold-water habitat that is critical for future fish populations.

The property also provides winter range for Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), several other mammals and migratory bird species
depend on the area for seasonal and year round use. The funds for this project will go towards funding the GSG Working Lands Conservation Easement that will protect the full property boundary of almost 2500 acres of upland, wetland, and riparian lands. A riparian corridor will be protected and enhanced, which will conserve critical wetlands and riparian lands. Restoration activities are planned throughout the property over the next several years; the easement will protect those activities and investment into the future. A conservation easement will provide protection to the land from any subdivision into view lots or smaller parcels, as this property has a prime view of the Strawberry Mountains with river front property.

As a Working Lands Conservation Easement, farm and ranching will continue under management plans that will be developed by other agencies, and monitored yearly by Blue Mountain Land Trust. The landowners wish to manage the grazing and timber in order to protect both the irrigated pastures and the uplands from any future overgrazing or harvesting actions.

Worksite #1 Proposed Work:

PCSRF funding will go towards the purchase of a Working Lands Conservation Easement on a 2,500-acre ranch located in the Reynolds Creek Watershed in the Upper John Day Basin. An easement will protect the property from any further land development. Management will be developed to ensure the ecological uplift of the fish and wildlife habitat and that grazing and timber harvesting will be managed in a sustainable manner. Those standards will be monitored annually by the easement holder, Blue Mountain Land Trust. Once the easement is finalized riparian restoration and wetland enhancement will begin. 15% designs have been completed for several sections along the John Day River and Reynolds Creek on this property. Proposed projects on the easement are Upper John Day Project JD1238-1(2) and JD1238-1(6).

Project Benefit    


The John Day Subbasin Revised Draft Plan (NPCC 2005a) list the fourth-field Upper John Day River (Hydrologic Unit Code 8: 17070201) where the project is located as a high priority for protection of habitat for summer steelhead and high priority for both protection and restoration for spring Chinook salmon and bull trout. The John Day River Watershed Restoration Strategy (CTWSRO 2014) identifies the Upper John Day River and the Reynolds Creek as the highest priority for all three fish species. The major limiting factors for each species:

Salmon:
• Degraded floodplain connectivity and function
• Degraded channel structure and complexity
Steelhead
• Impaired fish passage
• Degraded channel structure and complexity
Bull Trout
• Degraded channel structure and complexity
• Impaired fish passage

Located in the HUC5 Reynolds Creek-John Day River, which provides critical cold-water habitat to many species. Once the Conservation Easement is in place, additional work will begin to enhance the systems sustainability for fisheries. Climate change will make this location even more critical to these species for spawning and juvenile rearing.
The Upper John Day River is one of the most important strongholds for wild Chinook salmon in the Columbia Basin. Salmon require complex habitats with deep pools and clean gravels for spawning. Juvenile habitat requires diverse habitats with low velocity and high cover environments. Creating alcoves and floodplain habitats are important during spring run off and high water periods. The cold-water habitat that is influenced by the high mountain snow and springs influence is critical to their survival during warm, low flow periods (CTWSRO 2014). Steelhead have a wide distribution throughout the Subbasin and require a complex tributary habitat for juveniles. Projects have been completed in this area to improve fish passage barriers, but additional resources are needed to continue work to improve those (CTWSRO 2014).
Creating side-channels will help provide additional rearing habitat that is very limited. Bull trout require access to the cold-water habitat available to maintain a growing population structure. Loss of floodplain connectivity and complex systems has lead to reduced abundance. With climate change issuesm increased water temperatures, habitat for this species will become even more critical (CTWSRO 2014).

Accomplishments

Metric Completed Originally
Proposed
Land Acquisition
  Acres Acquired or Protected 2,442.0
  Stream Bank Miles Acquired
  or Protected
1.61

Funding Details

SourceFunds
PCSRF$123,675
Report Total:$123,675


Project Map



Worksites

GSG Work Lands Conservation Easement    


  • Worksite Identifier: GSG Work Lands Conservation Easement
  • Start Date: 04/01/2018
  • End Date: 12/01/2019
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: John Day
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 44.41405
  • Longitude: -118.5874

ESU

  • Mid-Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS

Map

Photos

Metrics

Metrics
  • C.0 Salmonid Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionY (Y/N)
    •      . . C.0.a Habitat restoration and acquisition funding .00
    •      . . C.0.b Length of stream treated/protected
    •      . . C.0.c
      Project identified in a Plan or Watershed Assessment
    •      . . C.0.d.1 Project Monitoring (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.2 Monitoring Location (LOV)
    •      . . C.10 Land or Easement AcquisitionY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . C.10.a Land acquisition funding
      •      . . . . C.10.b Habitat treatments applied (LOV)
      •      . . . . C.10.c.1 Acquisition or lease of land, wetland or estuarine area for conservationY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.10.c.2 Type of acquisition to protect habitat (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . C.10.c.3 Type of property protected (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . C.10.c.4 Date of expiration of protection (mm/dd/yyyy)
        •      . . . . . . C.10.c.5 Miles of streambank protected by land or easement acquisition
        •      . . . . . . C.10.c.6 Acres of land, wetland or estuarine area acquired