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Title: Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment, 2006 Final Report.

Abstract

The Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment was funded to address degradation and loss of spawning habitat for chum salmon (Onchorhynchus keta) and fall Chinook salmon (Onchoryhnchus tshawytscha). In 1999, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed lower Columbia River chum salmon as a threatened Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The Grays River watershed is one of two remaining significant chum salmon spawning locations in this ESU. Runs of Grays River chum and Chinook salmon have declined significantly during the past century, largely because of damage to spawning habitat associated with timber harvest and agriculture in the watershed. In addition, approximately 20-25% of the then-remaining chum salmon spawning habitat was lost during a 1999 channel avulsion that destroyed an important artificial spawning channel operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Although the lack of stable, high-quality spawning habitat is considered the primary physical limitation on Grays River chum salmon production today, few data are available to guide watershed management and channel restoration activities. The objectives of the Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment project were to (1) perform a comprehensive watershed and biological analysis, including hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological assessments; (2)more » develop a prioritized list of actions that protect and restore critical chum and Chinook salmon spawning habitat in the Grays River based on comprehensive geomorphic, hydrologic, and stream channel assessments; and (3) gain a better understanding of chum and Chinook salmon habitat requirements and survival within the lower Columbia River and the Grays River. The watershed-based approach to river ecosystem restoration relies on a conceptual framework that describes general relationships between natural landscape characteristics, watershed-scale habitat-forming processes, aquatic habitat conditions, and biological integrity. In addition, human land-use impacts are factored into the conceptual model because they can alter habitat quality and can disrupt natural habitat forming processes. In this model (Figure S.1), aquatic habitat--both instream and riparian--is viewed as the link between watershed conditions and biologic responses. Based on this conceptual model, assessment of habitat loss and the resultant declines in salmonid populations can be conducted by relating current and historical (e.g., natural) habitat conditions to salmonid utilization, diversity, and abundance. In addition, assessing disrupted ecosystem functions and processes within the watershed can aid in identifying the causes of habitat change and the associated decline in biological integrity. In this same way, restoration, enhancement, and conservation projects can be identified and prioritized. A watershed assessment is primarily a landscape-scale evaluation of current watershed conditions and the associated hydrogeomorphic riverine processes. The watershed assessment conducted for this project focused on watershed processes that form and maintain salmonid habitat. Landscape metrics describing the level of human alteration of natural ecosystem attributes were used as indicators of water quality, hydrology, channel geomorphology, instream habitat, and biotic integrity. Ecological (watershed) processes are related to and can be predicted based on specific aspects of spatial pattern. This study evaluated the hydrologic regime, sediment delivery regime, and riparian condition of the sub-watersheds that comprise the upper Grays River watershed relative to their natural range of conditions. Analyses relied primarily on available geographic information system (GIS) data describing landscape characteristics such as climate, vegetation type and maturity, geology and soils, topography, land use, and road density. In addition to watershed-scale landscape characteristics, the study area was also evaluated on the riparian scale, with appropriate landscape variables analyzed within riparian buffers around each stream or river channel. Included in the overall watershed assessment are field habitat surveys and analyses of the physical and hydrological characteristics of primary chum and fall Chinook salmon spawning areas and spawning habitat availability and use. This assessment is a significant step in a comprehensive program to ensure the survival and recovery of Columbia River chum salmon in its most productive system and builds on existing recovery planning efforts for these ESA-listed salmonids within the Grays River and the lower Columbia River. This assessment also provides a basis for the recovery of other fish species in the Grays River, including coho salmon, winter steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, and Pacific lamprey.« less

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Portland, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
961998
Report Number(s):
DOE/BP-00000652-38
R&D Project: 2003-013-00; TRN: US200915%%376
DOE Contract Number:
652 REL 33
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: document dated April 2007
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; COLUMBIA RIVER; ECOSYSTEMS; FISHERIES; GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS; GEOLOGY; GEOMORPHOLOGY; HABITAT; HYDROLOGY; LAND USE; MANAGEMENT; METRICS; RIVERS; SALMON; SEDIMENTS; SOILS; TOPOGRAPHY; TROUT; WATER QUALITY; WATERSHEDS

Citation Formats

May, Christopher, and Geist, David. Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment, 2006 Final Report.. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/961998.
May, Christopher, & Geist, David. Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment, 2006 Final Report.. United States. doi:10.2172/961998.
May, Christopher, and Geist, David. Sun . "Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment, 2006 Final Report.". United States. doi:10.2172/961998. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/961998.
@article{osti_961998,
title = {Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment, 2006 Final Report.},
author = {May, Christopher and Geist, David},
abstractNote = {The Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment was funded to address degradation and loss of spawning habitat for chum salmon (Onchorhynchus keta) and fall Chinook salmon (Onchoryhnchus tshawytscha). In 1999, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed lower Columbia River chum salmon as a threatened Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The Grays River watershed is one of two remaining significant chum salmon spawning locations in this ESU. Runs of Grays River chum and Chinook salmon have declined significantly during the past century, largely because of damage to spawning habitat associated with timber harvest and agriculture in the watershed. In addition, approximately 20-25% of the then-remaining chum salmon spawning habitat was lost during a 1999 channel avulsion that destroyed an important artificial spawning channel operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Although the lack of stable, high-quality spawning habitat is considered the primary physical limitation on Grays River chum salmon production today, few data are available to guide watershed management and channel restoration activities. The objectives of the Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment project were to (1) perform a comprehensive watershed and biological analysis, including hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological assessments; (2) develop a prioritized list of actions that protect and restore critical chum and Chinook salmon spawning habitat in the Grays River based on comprehensive geomorphic, hydrologic, and stream channel assessments; and (3) gain a better understanding of chum and Chinook salmon habitat requirements and survival within the lower Columbia River and the Grays River. The watershed-based approach to river ecosystem restoration relies on a conceptual framework that describes general relationships between natural landscape characteristics, watershed-scale habitat-forming processes, aquatic habitat conditions, and biological integrity. In addition, human land-use impacts are factored into the conceptual model because they can alter habitat quality and can disrupt natural habitat forming processes. In this model (Figure S.1), aquatic habitat--both instream and riparian--is viewed as the link between watershed conditions and biologic responses. Based on this conceptual model, assessment of habitat loss and the resultant declines in salmonid populations can be conducted by relating current and historical (e.g., natural) habitat conditions to salmonid utilization, diversity, and abundance. In addition, assessing disrupted ecosystem functions and processes within the watershed can aid in identifying the causes of habitat change and the associated decline in biological integrity. In this same way, restoration, enhancement, and conservation projects can be identified and prioritized. A watershed assessment is primarily a landscape-scale evaluation of current watershed conditions and the associated hydrogeomorphic riverine processes. The watershed assessment conducted for this project focused on watershed processes that form and maintain salmonid habitat. Landscape metrics describing the level of human alteration of natural ecosystem attributes were used as indicators of water quality, hydrology, channel geomorphology, instream habitat, and biotic integrity. Ecological (watershed) processes are related to and can be predicted based on specific aspects of spatial pattern. This study evaluated the hydrologic regime, sediment delivery regime, and riparian condition of the sub-watersheds that comprise the upper Grays River watershed relative to their natural range of conditions. Analyses relied primarily on available geographic information system (GIS) data describing landscape characteristics such as climate, vegetation type and maturity, geology and soils, topography, land use, and road density. In addition to watershed-scale landscape characteristics, the study area was also evaluated on the riparian scale, with appropriate landscape variables analyzed within riparian buffers around each stream or river channel. Included in the overall watershed assessment are field habitat surveys and analyses of the physical and hydrological characteristics of primary chum and fall Chinook salmon spawning areas and spawning habitat availability and use. This assessment is a significant step in a comprehensive program to ensure the survival and recovery of Columbia River chum salmon in its most productive system and builds on existing recovery planning efforts for these ESA-listed salmonids within the Grays River and the lower Columbia River. This assessment also provides a basis for the recovery of other fish species in the Grays River, including coho salmon, winter steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, and Pacific lamprey.},
doi = {10.2172/961998},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Sun Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment was funded to address degradation and loss of spawning habitat for chum salmon (Onchorhynchus keta) and fall Chinook salmon (Onchoryhnchus tshawytscha). In 1999, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed lower Columbia River chum salmon as a threatened Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The Grays River watershed is one of two remaining significant chum salmon spawning locations in this ESU. Runs of Grays River chum and Chinook salmon have declined significantly during the past century, largely because of damage to spawning habitat associated with timber harvest andmore » agriculture in the watershed. In addition, approximately 20-25% of the then-remaining chum salmon spawning habitat was lost during a 1999 channel avulsion that destroyed an important artificial spawning channel operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Although the lack of stable, high-quality spawning habitat is considered the primary physical limitation on Grays River chum salmon production today, few data are available to guide watershed management and channel restoration activities. The objectives of the Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment project were to (1) perform a comprehensive watershed and biological analysis, including hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological assessments; (2) develop a prioritized list of actions that protect and restore critical chum and Chinook salmon spawning habitat in the Grays River based on comprehensive geomorphic, hydrologic, and stream channel assessments; and (3) gain a better understanding of chum and Chinook salmon habitat requirements and survival within the lower Columbia River and the Grays River. The watershed-based approach to river ecosystem restoration relies on a conceptual framework that describes general relationships between natural landscape characteristics, watershed-scale habitat-forming processes, aquatic habitat conditions, and biological integrity. In addition, human land-use impacts are factored into the conceptual model because they can alter habitat quality and can disrupt natural habitat-forming processes. In this model (Figure S.1), aquatic habitat--both instream and riparian--is viewed as the link between watershed conditions and biologic responses. Based on this conceptual model, assessment of habitat loss and the resultant declines in salmonid populations can be conducted by relating current and historical (e.g., natural) habitat conditions to salmonid utilization, diversity, and abundance. In addition, assessing disrupted ecosystem functions and processes within the watershed can aid in identifying the causes of habitat change and the associated decline in biological integrity. In this same way, restoration, enhancement, and conservation projects can be identified and prioritized. A watershed assessment is primarily a landscape-scale evaluation of current watershed conditions and the associated hydrogeomorphic riverine processes. The watershed assessment conducted for this project focused on watershed processes that form and maintain salmonid habitat. Landscape metrics describing the level of human alteration of natural ecosystem attributes were used as indicators of water quality, hydrology, channel geomorphology, instream habitat, and biotic integrity. Ecological (watershed) processes are related to and can be predicted based on specific aspects of spatial pattern. This study evaluated the hydrologic regime, sediment delivery regime, and riparian condition of the sub-watersheds that comprise the upper Grays River watershed relative to their natural range of conditions. Analyses relied primarily on available geographic information system (GIS) data describing landscape characteristics such as climate, vegetation type and maturity, geology and soils, topography, land use, and road density. In addition to watershed-scale landscape characteristics, the study area was also evaluated on the riparian scale, with appropriate landscape variables analyzed within riparian buffers around each stream or river channel. Included in the overall watershed assessment are field habitat surveys and analyses of the physical and hydrological characteristics of primary chum and fall Chinook salmon spawning areas and spawning habitat availability and use. This assessment is a significant step in a comprehensive program to ensure the survival and recovery of Columbia River chum salmon in its most productive system and builds on existing recovery planning efforts for these ESA-listed salmonids within the Grays River and the lower Columbia River. This assessment also provides a basis for the recovery of other fish species in the Grays River, including coho salmon, winter steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout, and Pacific lamprey.« less
  • The goal of this project is to enhance and restore the ecological integrity and ecosystem function of the Grays River watershed. The recommended restoration and enhancement efforts developed in this project should incorporate local community stakeholder interests and needs. The objectives of this project are (1) to perform a comprehensive watershed and biological analysis, including hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological assessment; (2) to develop a prioritized list of actions that protect and restore critical chum and Chinook salmon spawning habitat in the Grays River based on comprehensive geomorphic, hydrologic, and stream channel assessments; and (3) to gain a better understanding ofmore » chum and Chinook salmon habitat requirements and survival within the lower Columbia River and the Grays River sub-basin.« less
  • This investigation, completed for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is part of the Grays River Watershed and Biological Assessment commissioned by Bonneville Power Administration under project number 2003-013-00 to assess impacts on salmon habitat in the upper Grays River watershed and present recommendations for habitat improvement. This report presents the findings of the geomorphic assessment and is intended to support the overall PNNL project by evaluating the following: The effects of historical and current land use practices on erosion and sedimentation within the channel network The ways in which these effects have influenced the sediment budget of the uppermore » watershed The resulting responses in the main stem Grays River upstream of State Highway 4 The past and future implications for salmon habitat.« less
  • The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Project 2003-013-00, 'Grays River Watershed Restoration', began in FY04 and continues into FY09. This status report is intended to summarize accomplishments during the period 1 May 2007 through 30 October 2008. Accomplishments are summarized by Work Elements, as detailed in the Statement of Work (see BPA's project management database PISCES). The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is collaborating with the Columbia River Estuary Task Force (CREST) on implementation of the Grays River Restoration Project. The Grays River is vitally important to the recovery of Lower Columbia River (LCR) chum salmon because it currently has themore » most viable population remaining in the LCR region. The Grays River watershed is also important to the recovery of salmon and steelhead in the LCR ecosystem. Today, numbers of naturally spawning salmon and steelhead have declined to levels far below historical numbers because of habitat limiting factors that include but are not limited to the lack of habitat connectivity, diversity, channel stability, riparian function and altered stream flow conditions. The objective of this project is to restore habitat-forming processes to enhance salmon and steelhead populations in the Grays River, following recommendations developed during the FY04-06 BPA-sponsored Grays River Watershed Assessment (BPA Project No. 2003-013-00). Specifically, this project will be the first step in restoring channel structure and function that will increase instream habitat diversity, channel stability, and riparian integrity in the critical response reach upstream and adjacent to critical salmon spawning areas of the Grays River. The major component of this strategy is the planning, design, installation, and monitoring of engineered logjams (ELJ) that will rejuvenate historic channel and floodplain processes. Additional restoration measures include reforesting the riparian corridor to enhance future large woody debris recruitment and investigation of conservation activities within ecologically critical areas. These activities include land acquisition and levee removal to protect critical areas and reconnect floodplain areas. Finally, monitoring integrated with restoration activities is proposed to evaluate restoration effectiveness and allow for adaptive management of future restoration treatments in the project area as well as other degraded watersheds in the Lower Columbia River.« less