Below are examples of projects in which Watershed Initiatives, LLC has either been project manager or lead facilitator. The projects listed here involved complex, public policy issues involving multiple stakeholders and government entities. The solutions that Watershed Initiatives, LLC sought were based in sound scientific data, transparency in all negotiations and respect for the diversity of views at the table. The first case study is the Oregon Energy Plan. The second case study is the Klamath Basin Meta-Data project The third case study is the Lobster Creek restoration project. Finally, the management plan for Eugene's flagship city park, Hendricks Park is also summarized.
The Oregon Energy Plan
In a special session of the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 2008, the Assembly directed the Oregon Department Of Energy ((ODOE) to establish guidelines for the reduction of energy usage in state agency facilities by at least 20 percent by 2015. In December 2008, then-Governor Kulongoski created the Oregon Energy Planning Council (Council) and directed its 11 members to provide an energy planning report with recommendations, and ongoing counsel on energy forecasting, transmission, price stability, efficiency, and renewable and alternative energy sources
The Council was composed of the CEOs of the major energy utilities in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest Region (e.g. PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric, N.W. Natural, the Bonneville Power Administration), as well as representatives from consumer groups, federal and state agencies, environmental and business interests, and others. Harnessing this brain trust to focus on developing an energy plan proved to be more challenging than originally anticipated. The Council met a number of times with the intent of developing an energy plan for the State of Oregon. However, due to the lack of a clear mandate and procedural challenges, the Council quit meeting in 2009.
Governor Kulongoski’s Executive Order stipulated that the Council would have a report to the Governor by the end of 2010. Consequently, in January of 2010, ODOE contracted with Watershed Initiatives, LLC to facilitate a series of meetings of the Council and help generate the report to the Governor.
Watershed Initiatives proposed as the initial task interviewing the principals on the Council to better understand the members’ views on why the Council failed to meet its goals initially, what issues were most salient and pressing for the Council members, and what was realistic to achieve given the limited time remaining to create a report on energy planning for the Governor.
The Council re-convened in May and met four times over the next six months with the intent of developing a plan that made recommendations to the Governor regarding energy conservation and sustainability. Paul Hoobyar designed the agendas, facilitated the meetings, and drafted the final report that the Council sent to Governor Kulongoski.
Klamath Basin: Metadata Inventory Project
On February 18, 2010, over 50 entities involved in the Klamath Basin, including federal and state agencies, Native American tribes, county governments, irrigators, and conservation and fishing groups signed the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. The Restoration Agreement “…is intended to result in effective and durable solutions which will: 1) restore and sustain natural fish production and provide for full participation in ocean and river harvest opportunities of fish species throughout the Klamath Basin; 2) establish reliable water and power supplies which sustain agricultural uses, communities, and National Wildlife Refuges; and 3) contribute to the public welfare and the sustainability of all Klamath Basin communities.”
With the signing of the KBRA, a number of actions are stipulated and need to be taken in order to help restore the ecological function and capacity of the Klamath Basin and its native fish populations. Watershed Initiatives, LLC (WI) in collaboration with Watershed Professionals Network, has created an on-line survey that provides a convenient repository for sharing data and information regarding near-term monitoring, research and restoration (MRR) activities targeted to the Basin’s threatened and endangered species. This survey is secure, easy to use, and free from viruses.
Lobster Creek Watershed
Restoration Project Synopsis
Lobster Creek has been identified by a number of studies as a refuge area for various native salmonid populations in the lower Rogue River (SW Or. Salmon Restoration Initiative, Or. Chapter of AFS, Lower Rogue Watershed Council Watershed Assessment, USFS biologists personal comm.).
Native populations of fall chinook, winter steelhead, sea run cutthroat trout, and coho salmon still utilize the watershed.
A concerted effort to protect and restore the watershed's key ecological and biological functions and support viable salmonid habitats is necessary if the refuge characteristics of the basin are to be retained.
NOTE: Ownership of the private industrial timber lands within Lobster Creek has transferred from Hancock Timber Resources Group to other industrial timber owners. However, HTRG was a partner in the Lobster Creek Whole-Basin Restoration Project for a number of years, and they are referenced in the overview below.
Interest in a whole-basin restoration strategy for Lobster Creek existed among a group of key constituencies for over two years prior to the project's inception. Discussions between HTRG, ODFW and Paul Hoobyar began in August, 1994.
A watershed restoration workshop organized by Paul Hoobyar held in October of 1994 further increased interest in the concept. Discussions were conducted regarding the development of a whole basin strategy with Hancock Timber Resources Group (HTRG), Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW), the Lower Rogue Watershed Council, (PRC), and the USFS Gold Beach Ranger District (USFS), collectively and individually.
Watershed Initiatives provided project oversight and coordination.
A number of projects and activities related to restoration were undertaken in the basin. On HTRG land, culvert replacement, road "storm proofing," riparian stand conversions, and large wood placement have been done by HTRG, in partnership with ODFW and the Lower Rogue Watershed Council.
Charley Dewberry, stream ecologist, completed a habitat and fish distribution survey of the lower basin. USFS installed a dedicated juvenile smolt trap (in partnership with ODFW & HTRG) and conducted spawning surveys annually for five years. Finally, the USFS conducted stream and spawning surveys in the upper part of the basin.
The Restoration Strategy
This project provided coordination between these groups, with the goal of maximizing the potential of the existing efforts, as well as increasing the capacity to establish whole-basin priorities and opportunities which couldn't be developed with independent approaches.
The whole-basin approach included coordinating restoration efforts planned by the USFS (with lands in the upper basin) with the restoration efforts of the partnership of key stakeholders in the lower basin using data collection, monitoring, and adaptive management techniques.
The major components the restoration strategy included:
- Locate where the fish are still utilizing the streams
- Two “whole basin” dive counts in Spring and Fall of 1997 were conducted to determine abundance and distribution of salmonids throughout the watershed and identify “hot spots” that have high levels of function and productivity in streams. Follow up dive counts in 1998 and 1999 further corroborated distributions of salmonids and secured the location of the areas that have the highest levels of productivity and ecological function.
- Locate any threats, upslope or upstream, to these places
- The partnership determined what threats to these areas existed throughout the basin (e.g. road-related problems, culverts, timber sale lay-outs and timing, etc.) by inventorying all roads and management plans in the HTRG lands, and working with the USFS to assess road-related threats on Forest Service managed lands.
- Remove the threats
- Work with partners to remove or alleviate these threats.
- Look for restoration opportunities
- Determine opportunities for restoration using refuge and hot spot areas as high priority guides (riparian planting, possible instream work, etc.)
- Continue dive counts, smolt trap monitoring and analysis of data to increase reliability for three-plus years.
- Reconstruct historic forest composition of basin to better determine goals of restoration.
- Based on data collected from dive counts and initial projects, determine subsequent restoration efforts.
The project received funding from a variety of sources, including the Hancock Timber Resources Group and the World Wildlife Fund. ODFW and the USFS committed in-kind contributions of staff time to help with monitoring and project development.
The Lower Rogue Watershed Council has conducted projects in Lobster Creek with OWEB funding, and restoration projects have been on-going using OWEB and other funds.
Based on whole-basin analyses, the major threats identified to the source areas are road-related. Culverts at stream crossings, fill areas, and roads across unstable slopes were inventoried on HTRG lands, and stream crossings were inventoried on the National Forest.
- Dedicated smolt trap (cost-shared by USFS and HTRG) staffed by ODFW
- Identification of "source areas" in Lobster Creek and subsequent verification of their spatial locat ion and viability over the past two years through snorkel surveys and smolt trap sampling;
- Identification of the major threats to these source areas through road surveys, stream crossing inventories and stream surveys;
- Development of a standardized road inventory tool used on both the National Forest and industrial timber lands that provides a consistent methodology for inventorying and prioritizing road-related sediment sources;
- A USFS Watershed Analysis at the whole basin scale that incorporates data from the private industrial landowner for Lobster Creek and uses USFS protocols
- Initial road stream crossing repairs and road upgrades on HTRG lands based on road surveys that established priorities based on greatest threats to the source areas.
Based on initial whole-basin analyses, the major threats identified to the continued viability of the source areas are road-related. Culverts at stream crossings, fill areas, and roads across unstable slopes were inventoried on HTRG lands, and stream crossings were inventoried on the National Forest. To date, on HTRG lands:
- 28 stream crossings received restoration improvements in 1998.
- 21 under-sized culverts were replaced with culverts having 50 year return interval capacity.
- 2 stream crossing culverts were completely removed, with the fill material pulled back.
- 5 additional culverts were installed at mids lope sites for increased relief for the in-board ditches, or to facilitate drainage at small basin crossing sites.
On the National Forest:
- All National Forest roads in Lobster Creek were surveyed for stream crossing conditions.
- 120 stream crossings surveyed.
- 44 stream crossings were identified for replacement or repair.
The decision-making approach used in the partnership was consensus-based. Decisions required agreement of the partners and were made during partnership meetings held at least twice a year or by fax, email or conference calls.
Because of the delicacy of sharing private property information with a public agency, the partnership developed a method that identifies the high priority areas for road treatments regardless of land ownership. Small sub-watersheds were identified as "Watershed Analysis Areas" ("WAAs"--a standard geographic unit for all USFS Watershed Analyses) for use in the USFS Watershed Analysis. Based on survey results, these WAAs were given priority ratings for restoration ("highest," "high," "medium") regardless of ownership. Anticipated work in the near future includes stream crossing repair and replacement on the National Forest, further road surveys on the National Forest, and further road treatments on HTRG lands using the source areas as a guide to establishing priorities.
The Lower Rogue Watershed Council staff acted as technical liaison between HTRG and the rest of the partners for sharing identified road-related sediment risk sites on HTRG lands. The Council staff worked with HTRG to identify sites that posed sediment-related risks to the source areas. The Council then developed maps identifying these areas and the types of sediment threat posed. The partners collaborated on establishing priority rankings based on the data.
A final chart aggregated the data for public domain use in the Watershed Analysis at the WAA scale for the Forest Service. This approach allowed the technical team to assess priority rankings for road treatment based on relative sediment transport risks, but avoided having specific sites on private property identified in a public document.
For more information, contact Paul Hoobyar at Watershed Initiatives
Hendricks Park Management Plan
Why was a Forest Management Plan needed for Hendricks Park?
The 78-acre Hendricks Park site was acquired by the City of Eugene in 1906. Controversy among different user groups and stakeholders about how best to manage the park intensified after decades of diverse human activity and the establishment of a mature forest on much of the park. Mature trees began falling in the park with increased frequency, and homeowners and environmentalists disagreed on how best to manage the park's forested area.
The City convened a Department Advisory Committee with representatives from the key constituencies concerned about the park's management. The City then hired Watershed Initiatives, LLC to help facilitate a series of meetings to identify common objectives and goals for the park to which all represented groups could agree.
The DAC created the following vision statement to help guide the development of a management plan for the park:
"The natural forested area of Hendricks Park provides unique ecological, historical, educational, recreational, and aesthetic resources for our human and natural communities. The enjoyment and the understanding of these resources within this dynamic forest community enrich our lives. Stewardship of the forested area of Hendricks Park shall respect scientific knowledges and the forest's natural processes, as it conserves and restores these resources for the present and future generations."
The Hendrick Parks management plan uses an ecosystem-based approach to managing the forested area. Objectives of the plan include maintaining the forested area as a demonstration natural area, enhancing the existing oak woodland, and creating a more windfirm and stable forest area where the forest abuts private homes in order to minimize windthrow damage and safety concerns.