Watershed Restoration by Neil Stichert

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Watershed restoration as a mitigation outcome

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  • 1. Watershed restoration as a mitigation outcome Neil Stichert Juneau Fish and Wildlife Field Office Perspectives from a practitioner
  • 2. Presentation Goal and Objectives
    • Goal
      • Offer perspectives on applications and challenges of habitat creation, restoration, and/or enhancement for mitigation.
    • Objectives
      • Offer some principles and common pitfalls of restoration planning.
      • Suggest pathways for moving forward.
  • 3. Principle: Definitions are important
    • Rehabilitation : Replacing or restructuring a degraded ecosystem or habitat type with another productive type
    • Partial Restoration (Enhancement): Restoring some ecosystem function and some of the original, dominant species.
    • Complete Restoration : Restoring full ecological and physical function as well as the original species abundance and community composition.
    • Habitat Protection: The practice of acquiring real property or protecting habitat through legal instruments for the purpose of maintaining biodiversity.
  • 4. Principle: Definitions are important
  • 5.
    • Inventory (where are the problems?)
    • Assessment (what is the condition?)
    • Prioritization (which should we remedy first?)
    • Planning (all successful projects have a plan)
    • Survey and Design (sites are specific, and design requires input)
    • Permitting (structured exchange of information)
    • Implementation (construction skill and detail are important)
    • Inspection (is it being built per the plan?)
    • Project evaluation (did we achieve the desired outcome?)
    • Maintenance / Adaptive Management (it’s hard to get it right
    • or conditions change)
    Principle: Successful Development, Restoration, and Mitigation work follows the same trajectory
  • 6. : Principle: Successful Development, Restoration, and Mitigation work follows the same trajectory Therefore…there are relatively few ‘shovel ready’ projects ready to be implemented
  • 7. Principle: Successful Development, Restoration, and Mitigation work follows the same trajectory
  • 8. Principle: Successful Development, Restoration, and Mitigation work follows the same trajectory
    • Sample elements of a parking lot plan and design:
    • Need
    • User type
    • Capacity
    • Slope
    • Conveyance of surface water
    • Land and construction cost
    • Surface material
    • Planting plan
  • 9. Principle: Successful Development, Restoration, and Mitigation work follows the same trajectory
    • Sample elements of a stream relocation plan and design:
    • Need
    • ‘ User’ type
    • Capacity
    • Slope
    • Conveyance of surface water
    • Land and construction cost
    • Surface material
    • Planting plan
  • 10. Principle: Successful Development, Restoration, and Mitigation work follows the same trajectory
    • When basic elements of a stream relocation plan and design are omitted, it often results in:
    • Simplification of habitat complexity
    • Reduced/different species occupancy
    • Reduced species density
    • Non-attainment of mitigation objective
  • 11. Principle: Assessment information is lacking in Southeast Alaska (especially on non-federal lands) Wetlands Fish Habitat Land ownership Culvert locations and barriers
  • 12. Principle: Assessment information is lacking in Southeast Alaska (but it’s getting better)
    • Anadromous Waters Cataloging- recent updates in JNU, Haines, Sitka, Yakutat
    • Fish Passage Assessments
      • Existing- TNF, DNR, Corporation lands
      • Ongoing- ADOT road system
    • TNF Watershed Restoration Plans
    • CBJ Wetland Mgmt Plan Revision
    • Watershed Council products
    • SE GIS Library - data
    • Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative (SDMI) -imagery
  • 13. Principle: Compliance versus Opportunity is a case-by-case determination
    • Principle applies to:
    • Past mitigation sites
    • Culvert barriers
    • Unpermitted fills
    • Solid/Toxic waste sites
    • Other
  • 14. BEFORE AFTER Principle: Restoration projects generally take more time the regulatory climate allows 2000 2009
  • 15. Principle: Restoration projects cost a lot more than you think (not including project management costs) Stream simulation culvert replacement = $60,000-$100,000 (no utility conflicts or pavement) Wetland enhancement = $20,000-$60,000 acre (+ land and/or easement cost) Removal of infrastructure from acquired lands = $ 20,000-$30,000 (+ appraisal and contaminants abatement cost) Invasive Plant Control = Annual $ Cost x Years Viability of Seed Bank
  • 16.
    • The pattern in which each permit authority requires their jurisdictional and/or interest area to be represented in the design.
    • Solution is to define the habitat objectives in writing and work through an interdisciplinary design process to achieve those objectives. Establishment of a reference reach is key.
    Pitfall: Avoid the pattern of mitigation ‘ design by committee’ Tidally influenced stream application Perennial stream habitat enhancement techniques
  • 17.
    • The pattern by which a permit authority drives the design through specification of generic criteria which may or may not apply to the site . Common in fish passage permit discussions.
    • Solution is to define a Fish Passage Design Guideline and use it. USFS, ADOT, and NOAA all have published design guidelines.
    • Don’t improvise. Departure from Guidelines should be documented when conditions preclude use of the Guideline.
    Pitfall: Avoid the pattern of mitigation ‘ design by criteria’
  • 18.
    • Development and regulatory community need to build in inherent lead time for the identification, planning, design, and implementation of habitat restoration projects, if they are to be a viable mitigation outcome.
    • Regulatory community needs to inventory and assess restoration opportunities across Southeast in order to provide practicable avenues for compliance with the Final Rule.
    Take Home:
  • 19.
    • Development community will have to invest in more expertise to ensure that specific designs accomplish the habitat restoration objectives of their mitigation.
    • All entities will benefit from moving away from a negotiation of acres/ratios/economic costs, and try to achieve functional restoration through a credible and replicable functional analysis of the habitats impacts and the habitats restored.
    Take Home:
  • 20.
    • Restoration as a mitigation outcome might be most successful on properties already or concurrently protected.
    Take Home: Channelized stream reach, Switzer Creek, Juneau Relic road fill