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NISQUALLY RIVER STEELHEAD RECOVERY PLAN
DRAFT
P R E P A R E D B Y :
Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team
Contact: Sayre Hodgs...
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The Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team developed this recovery plan to guide actions aimed at recovering steelhead populations in the Nisqually Watershed. Contact Sayre Hodgson with any questions.

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Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan

  1. 1. NISQUALLY RIVER STEELHEAD RECOVERY PLAN DRAFT P R E P A R E D B Y : Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contact: Sayre Hodgson, Nisqually Indian Tribe July 2014
  2. 2. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team.  2014.  Nisqually  River  Steelhead   Recovery  Plan.  Draft.  July.  Seattle,  WA.  Prepared  for  the  Nisqually  Indian   Tribe,  Olympia,  WA.  
  3. 3. Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan i July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Contents List of Tables........................................................................................................................................... v List of Figures......................................................................................................................................... vi List of Acronyms and Abbreviations.................................................................................................... viii Page Chapter 1 Introduction....................................................................................................................1-1 1.1 Recovery Plan Development............................................................................................1-3 1.1.1 Need for Recovery ...........................................................................................................1-3 1.1.2 Goals and Objectives........................................................................................................1-4 1.1.3 Analytical Framework ......................................................................................................1-5 1.1.4 Implementation, Adaptive Management, and Monitoring .............................................1-6 1.1.5 Next Steps........................................................................................................................1-6 1.1.6 Document Contents.........................................................................................................1-7 Chapter 2 Recovery Goals and Objectives ........................................................................................2-1 2.1 Long-Term Watershed Goals ...........................................................................................2-1 2.1.1 Conservation Goals..........................................................................................................2-1 2.1.2 Harvest Goals...................................................................................................................2-1 2.2 Short-Term Recovery Goals .............................................................................................2-2 2.2.1 Conservation Goals..........................................................................................................2-2 2.2.2 Harvest Goals...................................................................................................................2-2 2.3 Recovery Strategic Objectives .........................................................................................2-3 2.3.1 Habitat Objectives............................................................................................................2-3 2.3.2 Fish Management Objectives ..........................................................................................2-3 2.3.3 Monitoring and Adaptive-Management Objectives........................................................2-4 Chapter 3 Nisqually River Overview.................................................................................................3-1 3.1 Nisqually River Watershed...............................................................................................3-1 3.1.1 Subbasins and Ecoregions................................................................................................3-1 3.1.2 Land Use...........................................................................................................................3-7 3.1.3 Hydroelectric Development.............................................................................................3-8 3.2 Nisqually River Estuary ..................................................................................................3-10 3.3 Nisqually River Mainstem..............................................................................................3-12 3.4 Tributary Subbasins .......................................................................................................3-13 3.4.1 McAllister Creek.............................................................................................................3-13 3.4.2 Muck Creek ....................................................................................................................3-15
  4. 4. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan ii July 2014 ICF 00153.13 3.4.3 Prairie Tributaries ..........................................................................................................3-15 3.4.4 Ohop Creek ....................................................................................................................3-16 3.4.5 Lackamas, Toboton, and Powell Creeks.........................................................................3-17 3.4.6 Mashel River ..................................................................................................................3-17 3.5 Historical and Current Habitat Conditions.....................................................................3-20 3.5.1 Flow Regime...................................................................................................................3-20 3.5.2 Water Quality.................................................................................................................3-25 3.5.3 Channel Morphology and Degree of Confinement........................................................3-27 3.5.4 Channel and Substrate Characteristics..........................................................................3-30 3.5.5 Sediment Budget ...........................................................................................................3-31 Chapter 4 Nisqually River Steelhead ................................................................................................4-1 4.1 Nisqually River Winter Steelhead Juvenile and Adult Life History ..................................4-1 4.2 Adult Abundance .............................................................................................................4-7 4.2.1 Harvest...........................................................................................................................4-11 4.2.2 Annual Run Size .............................................................................................................4-13 4.3 Smolt Outmigration Monitoring....................................................................................4-13 4.3.1 Smolt Abundance...........................................................................................................4-14 4.3.2 Migration Timing............................................................................................................4-14 4.3.3 Smolt Age and Size.........................................................................................................4-16 4.4 Steelhead Marine Survival and Recruitment.................................................................4-17 4.4.1 Marine Survival Estimates .............................................................................................4-17 4.4.2 Freshwater Productivity (Smolt Recruits per Spawner) ................................................4-22 4.4.3 Estimates Adult per Spawner Recruitment ...................................................................4-23 4.4.4 Anadromy and Resident Life-History Forms..................................................................4-25 4.4.5 Incidence of Iteroparity in Nisqually Winter Steelhead.................................................4-26 4.5 Nisqually River Hatchery Releases.................................................................................4-26 4.5.1 Steelhead Hatchery Programs .......................................................................................4-26 4.5.2 Other Hatchery Programs in the Nisqually Watershed .................................................4-30 4.6 Nisqually River Steelhead Genetic Analyses..................................................................4-32 Chapter 5 Restoration and Protection Needs....................................................................................5-1 5.1 Analytical Methods..........................................................................................................5-1 5.2 Analysis of Current and Historical Habitat Potential .......................................................5-4 5.3 Factors Affecting Steelhead in the Watershed................................................................5-9 5.3.1 Comparison of Life Cycle Segment Survival and Abundance...........................................5-9 5.3.2 Watershed Geographic Restoration and Protection Priorities......................................5-11 5.3.3 Watershed Habitat-Limiting Factor Priorities................................................................5-12 5.4 Parameter Uncertainty and Stochastic Variation..........................................................5-14
  5. 5. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan iii July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Chapter 6 Habitat Recovery Strategies.............................................................................................6-1 6.1 Analysis of Recovery Plan Habitat Potential....................................................................6-6 6.2 Factors Affecting Steelhead in the Watershed................................................................6-9 6.2.1 Watershed Geographic Improvements ...........................................................................6-9 6.2.2 Watershed Habitat-Limiting Factors Addressed by the Recovery Plan.........................6-10 6.3 Conclusions and Guidance.............................................................................................6-12 Chapter 7 Nisqually River Steelhead Management ...........................................................................7-1 7.1 Hatchery Options.............................................................................................................7-2 7.2 Harvest Management ......................................................................................................7-4 7.3 Conclusions......................................................................................................................7-9 Chapter 8 Implementation ..............................................................................................................8-1 8.1 Strategic Objectives for Recovery....................................................................................8-1 8.1.1 Habitat Objectives............................................................................................................8-2 8.1.2 Fish-Management Objectives..........................................................................................8-2 8.1.3 Monitoring and Adaptive-Management Objectives........................................................8-3 8.2 Winter Steelhead Action Plan..........................................................................................8-3 8.2.1 Application of Steelhead Common Framework...............................................................8-5 8.2.2 Implementation Strategy Framework..............................................................................8-6 8.2.3 Priority Recovery Actions for Steelhead Recovery ..........................................................8-7 8.3 Adaptive Management during Recovery.......................................................................8-10 8.3.1 Data Gaps.......................................................................................................................8-11 8.3.2 Assessment Needs.........................................................................................................8-12 8.3.3 Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Needs ...............................................................8-13 8.3.4 Annual Project Review...................................................................................................8-14 8.4 Climate Change Considerations.....................................................................................8-16 8.4.1 Projected Impacts of Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest....................................8-16 8.4.2 Projected Impacts of Climate Change in the Nisqually River Watershed......................8-17 8.4.3 Restoration Actions to Ameliorate Climate Change Effects ..........................................8-18 Chapter 9 References ......................................................................................................................9-1 Appendix A Reach Structure for Assessment of Winter Steelhead Performance in the Nisqually River........................................................................................................9-1 Appendix B Nisqually Steelhead Tracking Study................................................................................9-1 Appendix C Nisqually Winter Steelhead Action Plan .........................................................................9-1 Appendix D Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation...........................................................9-1
  6. 6. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan iv July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Appendix A Reach Structure for Assessment of Winter Steelhead Performance in the Nisqually River Appendix B Nisqually Steelhead Tracking Study Appendix C Nisqually Winter Steelhead Action Plan Appendix D Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation
  7. 7. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan v July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Tables Table 3-1. Characteristics of EPA Level IV Ecoregions in the Lower Nisqually Basin.............................3-5 Table 3-2. Amount of Channel Area (hectares) by Channel Type and Estuarine Zone .......................3-12 Table 3-3. Nisqually Watershed Streams, Reaches, and Springs by Subbasin ....................................3-14 Table 3-4. USGS Stream Gages used to Characterize Streamflow in Nisqually Basin .........................3-23 Table 3-5. Fine Sediment and Spawning Gravel Sampling Results for Ohop Creek and Mashel River Watersheds (1990–1994) .............................................................................3-33 Table 4-1. Nisqually River Wild Winter Steelhead Age Composition (freshwater/saltwater years and total age)..........................................................................4-5 Table 4-2. Locations of Aerial and Ground-Based Survey Reaches in the Nisqually Rivera ...................4-8 Table 4-3. Recent Steelhead Survey Effort (2004–2013) on the Nisqually River and Mashel River .....4-9 Table 4-4. Nisqually River Wild Winter Steelhead Run Reconstruction (1979/1980–2011/2012) .....4-12 Table 4-5. Trap Operations Dates and Percent Time Fishing during Years of Operation....................4-14 Table 4-6. Steelhead Smolt Abundance Estimates and Percent Coefficient of Variation for Years of Trap Operation......................................................................................................4-14 Table 4-7. Dates for Quantiles of Run Timing for Years of Trap Operation ........................................4-16 Table 4-8. Percent of Steelhead Smolt Age Structure for Years of Trap Operation............................4-16 Table 4-9. Steelhead Smolt Fork Lengths in Millimeters for Years of Trap Operation........................4-16 Table 4-10. Mean Steelhead Smolt Fork Length in Millimeters and Standard Deviation at Age for Years of Trap Operation.......................................................................................4-17 Table 4-11. River Smolt-to-Adult Survival Rates for Nisqually River Steelhead (2009–2010) ............4-20 Table 4-12. Estimated Smolts per Spawner for the Smolt Outmigrant Brood Years Collected to Date..............................................................................................................4-22 Table 4-13. Estimated Adult Recruits per Spawner for Nisqually River Steelhead .............................4-24 Table 4-14. Historical Releases of Unknown or Winter Run Hatchery Steelhead to Nisqually River .4-27 Table 4-15. Historical Summer-Run Steelhead Hatchery Releases in the Nisqually River..................4-28 Table 4-16. Incidence of Hatchery-Origin Steelhead in the Nisqually River Treaty Net Catch ...........4-29 Table 4-17. Hatchery Salmonids Released in the Nisqually Watershed..............................................4-31 Table 4-18. Hatchery Rainbow Trout Captured at the Nisqually River Smolt Trap.............................4-32 Table 4-19. Nisqually River Steelhead/Resident Rainbow Trout Genetic Samples.............................4-33 Table 5-1. EDT Predicted Adult to Adult Productivity, Capacity, Abundance, and Diversity Index (1% Marine Survival)...........................................................................................................5-4 Table 5-2. EDT-Predicted Spawner-to-Smolt Productivity, Capacity, and Abundance .......................5-5 Table 6-1. Recovery Plan Action Items................................................................................................6-2 Table 6-2. EDT Predicted Adult to Adult Productivity, Capacity, Abundance, and Diversity Index (1% Marine Survival)..................................................................................6-6 Table 6-3. EDT-Predicted Spawner to Smolt Productivity, Capacity, and Abundance........................6-7 Table 7-1. Assessment of Hatchery Options for Nisqually River Steelhead........................................7-3 Table 7-2. Fish Management Thresholds for Two Scenarios Used to Explore Harvest Opportunities for Nisqually River Steelhead .............................................................................................7-6 Table 7-3. Results for Low and High Conservation Scenario Simulations...........................................7-7
  8. 8. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan vi July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Figures Figure 1-1. Nisqually River Watershed..................................................................................................1-2 Figure 3-1. Anadromous Portion of the Nisqually River Basin (WRIA 11).............................................3-2 Figure 3-2. EPA Level IV Ecoregions in the Lower Nisqually Basin........................................................3-4 Figure 3-3. Land Cover Classification for Nisqually River Watershed Subbasins ..................................3-9 Figure 3-4. Nisqually Estuary Restoration of Channels (1990 Condition and 2012 Extent)................3-11 Figure 3-5. Ohop Creek Channel Restoration Completed and Planned..............................................3-18 Figure 3-6. Location of Engineered Log Jams in the Lower Mashel River...........................................3-19 Figure 3-7. Daily Mean Flow for the Upper Nisqually River near National, Lower Nisqually River at La Grande, and Lower Nisqually River near McKenna..................................................3-21 Figure 3-8. Annual Peak Flows for the Upper Nisqually River near National, Lower Nisqually River at La Grande, and Lower Nisqually River near McKenna..................................................3-22 Figure 3-9. Daily Mean Flows in Four Tributary Streams in the Lower Nisqually Basin......................3-24 Figure 4-1. Nisqually River Winter Steelhead Generalized Life History................................................4-1 Figure 4-2. Winter Steelhead Spawning Timing in the Nisqually River and Mashel River (2009–2013); data provided by James Losee, WDFW. .......................................................4-2 Figure 4-3. Distribution of Fyke Net Catches of Three Size Classes of Rainbow Trout and Steelhead in Muck Creek (1980).........................................................................................4-3 Figure 4-4. Temporal Distribution of Size Classes of Juvenile Rainbow Trout and Steelhead (1980)...4-4 Figure 4-5. Nisqually River Wild Winter Steelhead Distribution of Years in Freshwater and Saltwater and Total Age at Return......................................................................................4-6 Figure 4-6. Age Structure (Freshwater/Saltwater age) of Adult Returning Nisqually River Wild Winter Steelhead........................................................................................................4-7 Figure 4-7. Steelhead Spawning Escapement to the Nisqually River and Major Tributaries (1980–2013)........................................................................................................................4-7 Figure 4-8. Steelhead Spawning Distribution......................................................................................4-10 Figure 4-9. Recent Year Estimated Adult Winter Steelhead from Tributary Surveys (Muck Creek was not surveyed 2004 to 2009) .................................................................4-11 Figure 4-10. Nisqually River Wild Winter Steelhead Run Reconstruction (1979/1980–2012/2013)....4-13 Figure 4-11. Steelhead Smolt Run Timing by Week for Years of Trap Operation.................................4-15 Figure 4-12. Weekly Mean, Minimum, and Maximum Fork Lengths in Millimeters of Steelhead Smolts for Years of Trap Operation..................................................................4-18 Figure 4-13. Length Density Histograms for the Observed Age Classes for Years of Available Age Data............................................................................................................................4-19 Figure 4-14. Survivorship Curves for Steelhead Smolts in Puget Sound and Hood Canal....................4-22 Figure 4-15. Nisqually River Winter Steelhead Adult Brood Spawner Abundance versus Adult Recruits (dashed line is 1.0 recruit per spawner)....................................................4-25 Figure 5-1. Relationship between Spawner Abundance and Adult Progeny (Recruits)........................5-2 Figure 5-2. Hypothetical Example of the Multistage Beverton-Holt Function for Capacity in EDT ......5-3
  9. 9. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan vii July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Figure 5-3. EDT-Predicted Nisqually Steelhead Spawner-to-Adult S-R Functions for Current and Historical Conditions (1% Marine Survival).........................................................................5-5 Figure 5-4. EDT-Predicted Nisqually Steelhead Spawner-to-Smolt S-R Functions for Current and Historical Conditions ...........................................................................................................5-6 Figure 5-5. Predicted Habitat Utilization (Adult Distribution) of Nisqually Steelhead (1% Marine Survival) ...........................................................................................................5-6 Figure 5-6. Pattern of Habitat Degradation in the Nisqually River Watershed by Life Stage .............5-13 Figure 5-7. Pattern of Habitat Degradation in the Nisqually River Watershed by Subbasin ..............5-14 Figure 5-8. Current Condition Results with Alternative Marine Survival............................................5-15 Figure 6-1. EDT-Predicted Nisqually Steelhead Spawner-to-Adult S-R Functions for the Recovery Plan, Current, and Historical Conditions (1% Marine Survival)...........................6-6 Figure 6-2. EDT-Predicted Nisqually Steelhead Spawner-to-Smolt S-R Functions for the Recovery Plan, Current, and Historical Conditions .............................................................6-7 Figure 6-3. Predicted Habitat Utilization (Adult Distribution) of Nisqually Steelhead (1% Marine Survival) ...........................................................................................................6-8 Figure 7-1. Results Low and High Conservation Scenarios for Run to River and Catch (top) and Spawning Escapement (bottom).........................................................................................7-8 Figure 8-1. Process for Reviewing and Updating Information during Annual Project Review ...........8-15
  10. 10. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan viii July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Acronyms and Abbreviations °C degrees Celsius ADM Admiralty Inlet AM aerial mapping APR annual project review BNSF Burlington Northern Santa Fe cfs cubic feet per second Common Framework Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Recovery: A Framework for the Development of Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plans DIP Demographically Independent Population DP Deception Pass DPS Distinct Population Segment EDT Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission HCB Hood Canal Bridge I-5 Interstate 5 JDF Strait of Juan de Fuca M&AM Monitoring and Adaptive Management NAR Tacoma Narrows NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NSRT Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Open Standards Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation PIT passive integrated transponder Prairie Tributaries prairie-type tributaries RAD redd accumulation and deterioration RCO Recreation and Conservation Office recovery plan Nisqually Winter Steelhead Recovery Plan RITT Recovery Implementation Technical Team’s RK river kilometer RM river mile SR State Route TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load USGS U.S. Geological Survey VSP viable salmonid population WDFW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife WDNR Washington Department of Natural Resources lands WRIA 11 Water Resource Inventory Area 11
  11. 11. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Contents Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan ix July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Participants The individuals listed below attended one or more of the NSRT workshops and contributed information for this plan. This report was drafted principally by the Nisqually Indian Tribe fisheries staff and their consultants, with contributions by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The smolt monitoring section in Chapter 4, Nisqually River Steelhead, was prepared by Matt Klungle of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Name Agency/Company/Tribe Calahan, Amy Nisqually Indian Tribe Cutler, Jennifer Nisqually Indian Tribe Ellings, Christopher Nisqually Indian Tribe Hodgson, Sayre Nisqually Indian Tribe Moore, Jed Nisqually Indian Tribe Sampselle, Cathy Nisqually Indian Tribe Smith, Craig Nisqually Indian Tribe Troutt, David Nisqually Indian Tribe Walter, George Nisqually Indian Tribe Hughes, Kirt Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Klungle, Matt Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Loosee, James Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Marshall, Anne Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Phillips, Larry Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Leischner, Florian Tacoma Power Richardson, John Joint Base Lewis-McChord Blair, Greg (Consultant) ICF International Luiting, Torrey (Consultant) ICF International
  12. 12.     Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   1-­‐1   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     Chapter  1   Introduction   Salmon  are  important  to  the  economic,  social,  cultural,  and  aesthetic  values  of  the  people  in  the   Nisqually  River  watershed.  Winter  steelhead  (Oncorhynchus  mykiss)  were  at  one  time  abundant  in   the  Nisqually  River;  the  species  was  a  significant  component  of  the  Nisqually  ecosystem  and   provided  an  important  winter  fishery  for  tribal  and  sport  fishers.  Run  size  estimates  dropped   substantially  in  the  early  1990s  and  remain  low.  In  May  2007,  the  Puget  Sound  steelhead  Distinct   Population  Segment  (DPS)  was  listed  as  a  threatened  species  under  the  Endangered  Species  Act.     Since  implementation  of  the  original  Nisqually  Chinook  Recovery  Plan  (Nisqually  Chinook  Recovery   Team  2001),  several  major  habitat  restoration  initiatives  have  resulted  in  habitat  improvements  in   the  Nisqually  River  watershed.  These  have  included  the  restoration  of  tidal  hydrology  to  1,878  acres   (760  hectares)  of  the  Nisqually  River  estuary  (2009),  the  first  phase  of  restoration  of  Ohop  Creek   (2009),  and  several  in-­‐stream  wood  placement  projects  on  the  Mashel  River.  Future  large-­‐scale   restoration  projects  include  the  second  and  third  phases  of  the  Ohop  Creek  restoration  and   continued  habitat  protection  efforts.  However,  despite  this  focus  on  habitat  restoration  and  the   elimination  of  sport  harvest  and  directed  tribal  harvest  the  Nisqually  winter  steelhead  population   remains  at  a  depressed  level.   The  Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team  (NSRT)  was  formed  to  develop  a  Nisqually  River  Steelhead   Recovery  Plan  (recovery  plan).  The  NSRT  is  composed  of  technical  representatives  of  the  Nisqually   Indian  Tribe  and  the  Washington  Department  of  Fish  and  Wildlife  (WDFW).  The  NSRT  also   collaborated  with  other  watershed  stakeholders  such  as  Pierce  County,  Thurston  County,  Joint  Base   Lewis-­‐McChord,  the  Nisqually  River  Council,  South  Puget  Sound  Salmon  Enhancement  Group,   Tacoma  Power,  and  the  Nisqually  Land  Trust.  Together  with  WDFW,  these  stakeholders  will  have  a   critical  role  during  cooperative  implementation  of  the  strategies,  actions,  and  next  steps   recommended  in  this  recovery  plan.  This  effort  was  funded  by  a  grant  from  the  Washington  State   Recreation  and  Conservation  Office  (RCO)  and  Nisqually  Indian  Tribe.   This  draft  report  is  the  first  step  toward  developing  a  comprehensive  habitat  and  fish  management   plan  for  recovering  Nisqually  winter  steelhead.  Additional  discussions  will  occur  between  the  tribe   and  state  co-­‐managers  in  the  watershed  community  to  refine  goals,  objectives,  and  plan  elements.   The  recovery  plan  includes  a  habitat  action  plan  with  specific  habitat  protection  and  restoration   strategies  and  will  eventually  serve  as  an  inclusive  steelhead  stock  monitoring  and  adaptive   management  plan.  The  recovery  plan  incorporates  the  needs  and  threats  faced  by  winter  steelhead   into  the  existing  salmon  management  framework  for  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  that  is  currently   focused  on  Chinook  salmon  (Oncorhynchus  tshawytscha)  recovery  (Nisqually  Chinook  Recovery   Team  2011).  Figure  1-­‐1  shows  the  complete  Nisqually  River  watershed  and  the  anadromous  portion   available  to  winter  steelhead.      
  13. 13. Graphics/00153.13NisquallySteelheadRecoveryPlanning(12-13)SS Figure 1-1 Nisqually River Watershed
  14. 14. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Introduction       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   1-­‐3   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     1.1 Recovery  Plan  Development   The  recovery  plan  is  a  broad  and  comprehensive  approach  to  recovering  steelhead  in  the  Nisqually   River  watershed;  it  is  based  on  available  historical  information  on  habitat  conditions  in  the  watershed   and  current  habitat  information.  The  plan  relies  heavily  on  stock  assessment  data  and  steelhead   research  findings  derived  from  the  Nisqually  Indian  Tribe  and  WDFW.  The  plan  includes  an  analysis  of   current  and  historical  population  abundance  data  and  an  assessment  of  freshwater  habitat  potential   for  the  current  and  reconstructed  historical  Nisqually  River  watershed.  From  these  analyses,  the  NSRT   identified  freshwater  habitat  restoration  and  protection  priorities  and  completed  an  analysis  of  the   potential  benefits  of  specific  habitat  actions.  Together  these  represent  a  Nisqually  River  watershed   habitat  plan  that  addresses  the  factors  specifically  identified  as  limiting  winter  steelhead  in  the   Nisqually  River  watershed  and  priority  areas  to  protect  high-­‐quality  habitat  in  the  watershed.     Although  marine  survival  is  an  important  factor  affecting  Nisqually  steelhead  recovery,  an  in-­‐depth   analysis  of  complex,  interrelated,  and  far-­‐reaching  factors  affecting  marine  survival  is  beyond  the   scope  of  this  recovery  plan.  The  NSRT  plans  to  work  closely  with  Salish  Sea  Marine  Survival  Project   team  to  better  understand  factors  affecting  Nisqually  steelhead  in  the  marine  environment  and   implement  their  recommendations  to  address  those  factors  where  possible  (Steelhead  Marine   Survival  Workgroup  2014).   1.1.1 Need  for  Recovery     Steelhead  have  one  of  the  most  complex  suites  of  life  history  strategies  of  any  anadromous  Pacific   salmonid  species.  Nisqually  winter  steelhead  usually  spend  1  to  3  years  in  freshwater,  with  the   greatest  proportion  typically  spending  2  years  there.  Consequently,  steelhead  rely  heavily  on   freshwater  habitat  and  are  present  in  streams  year-­‐round.  Nisqually  River  winter  steelhead  share   habitat  with  resident  O.  mykiss  and  likely  interact  as  a  single  population  (Section  4.4.1.6,  Anadromy   and  Resident  Life-­‐History  Forms).  Juvenile  steelhead  also  interact  with  other  salmonids  in  the   watershed,  including  feeding  on  pink  and  chum  salmon  fry  when  abundant.  These  complexities   necessitate  a  recovery  plan  that  has  a  strong  focus  on  understanding  steelhead  freshwater  life   history  and  habitat  use.     Steelhead  are  in  decline  throughout  Puget  Sound.  Recent  abundance  of  Puget  Sound  steelhead  has   been  estimated  at  only  1%  to  4%  of  historical  levels,  with  abundance  estimates  for  the  period  of   1980  to  2004  of  22,000  fish,  compared  to  historical  (1895)  abundance  of  485,000  to  930,000  fish   (Gayeski  et  al.  2011).     Despite  the  generally  less-­‐developed  character  of  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  relative  to  other   Puget  Sound  basins,  annual  winter  steelhead  abundance  in  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  has   declined  substantially  since  the  1980s  and  has  consistently  remained  at  less  than  1,000  fish  since   the  early  1990s  (Chapter  4,  Nisqually  River  Steelhead).  During  the  1980s,  the  number  of  wild   steelhead  returning  to  the  Nisqually  River  was  estimated  to  be  between  approximately  4,000  and   7,000  fish.  This  is  likely  a  low  estimate  because  escapement  numbers  were  based  on  Nisqually  River   mainstem  redd  surveys  and  did  not  account  for  fish  returning  to  spawn  in  numerous  tributaries  in   the  watershed.  Hiss  et  al.  (1982)  provides  partial  records  of  winter  steelhead  escapement  to  Muck   Creek,  reporting  134  females  returning  to  this  stream  to  spawn  in  1980.  The  number  of  steelhead   returning  to  the  Nisqually  River  has  plummeted  to  300  or  less  in  the  last  4  of  10  years.  Again,   spawning  abundance  estimates  are  for  the  mainstem,  and  in  recent  years,  include  the  Mashel  River.   Therefore,  the  total  run  size  to  the  river  is  likely  slightly  larger  to  account  for  fish  spawning  in  other   tributaries.  
  15. 15. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Introduction       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   1-­‐4   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     The  Puget  Sound  Steelhead  Technical  Recovery  Team  conducted  a  viability  analysis  of  Puget  Sound   steelhead  populations  (Puget  Sound  Steelhead  Technical  Recovery  Team  2013a).  Their  analysis  of   abundance  and  recruitment  data  for  Nisqually  River  steelhead  found  that  the  population  is  at  “a  very   high  risk  of  quasi-­‐extinction  over  the  next  100  years.”   Wild  fish  management  of  winter  steelhead  has  been  the  primary  management  focus  in  the  Nisqually   River  for  the  last  25  years.  The  fishery  focus  has  historically  been  on  wild  fish  and  ensuring   adequate  escapement  of  wild  fish.  Tribal  and  sport  harvest  on  Nisqually  steelhead  was  eliminated  in   the  early  1990s.  Since  then,  a  few  winter  steelhead  have  been  caught  during  the  tribal  winter  chum   fishery  each  year.     Historically,  there  have  been  hatchery  releases  of  both  winter  and  summer  non-­‐native  steelhead   smolts  in  the  watershed  (Chapter  4,  Nisqually  River  Steelhead).  The  last  hatchery  release  of  winter   steelhead  was  in  1981.  The  program  was  never  large;  the  average  number  of  winter  steelhead   smolts  released  between  1975  and  1981  was  approximately  20,000  fish.  Summer  steelhead  smolts   were  released  up  until  1994,  averaging  about  23,000  smolts  per  year.  Winter  and  summer  steelhead   released  into  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  were  fish  reared  in  hatcheries  outside  of  the  watershed.   Fish  were  transported  from  the  donor  hatcheries  and  released  directly  into  the  Nisqually  River   mainstem.  In  years  with  hatchery  adults  in  the  return  the  contribution  of  hatchery  fish  to  harvest   was  accounted  for  through  scale  analysis  of  fish  in  the  fishery.  Run  size  to  the  river  during  the  period   that  included  hatchery  returns  was  adjusted  to  remove  hatchery  origin  adults.     Land-­‐use  practices  in  the  Nisqually  River  watershed,  including  commercial  timber  harvest  and   development,  have  increased  sediment  loads,  reduced  large  woody  material  input  and  recruitment   potential,  and  altered  precipitation  runoff  patterns.  The  conversion  of  valley  bottomlands  and   wetlands  to  agricultural  and  rural  residential  and  hobby  farms  has  altered  the  habitat  support   functions  provided  by  these  floodplain  habitats.  Prior  to  its  recent  restoration,  the  Nisqually  River   estuary  had  lost  approximately  30%  of  its  historical  intertidal  and  subtidal  habitat  and  54%  of  its   intertidal  emergent  marsh  habitats.  The  Nisqually  River  mainstem  is  constrained  by  revetments  and   levees  in  the  lower  5.2  miles,  remnant  flood  control  dikes  in  areas  near  McKenna  and  maintained   dikes  that  protect  the  Yelm  Diversion  Canal  between  river  mile  (RM)  21.8  and  RM  26.4   (Kerwin  1999).   Two  hydroelectric  projects  have  been  constructed  in  the  watershed  on  the  Nisqually  River   mainstem.  The  Centralia  Diversion  Dam  (operated  by  the  City  of  Centralia  as  part  of  its  Yelm  Hydro   project)  constructed  at  RM  26.2  in  1929  has  affected,  and  continues  to  affect,  adult  and  juvenile  fish   passage.  The  dam  diverts  water  to  a  9-­‐mile  canal  running  parallel  to  the  river  before  returning  to  the   river.  The  La  Grande  Hydroelectric  Project  at  RM  40.8,  operated  by  Tacoma  Power,  was  constructed   in  1910,  and  Alder  Dam  was  added  just  upstream  of  this  dam  in  1944.  This  project  affects  the   hydrologic  regime  of  the  Nisqually  River  mainstem  through  flood  storage  and  flow  regulation.     1.1.2 Goals  and  Objectives   The  specific  Nisqually  Indian  Tribe  and  WDFW  (co-­‐managers)  goals  and  objectives  detailed  in   Chapter  2,  Recovery  Goals  and  Objectives,  were  developed  collaboratively  through  a  series  of  NSRT   meetings  held  in  2012  and  early  2013.    
  16. 16. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Introduction       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   1-­‐5   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     Development  of  the  goals  and  objectives  included  both  short-­‐  and  long-­‐term  escapement  and   harvest  goals,  formulated  to  reflect  several  considerations.    The  economic,  cultural,  and  social  importance  of  Nisqually  winter  steelhead  to  the  Nisqually   Indian  Tribe.      The  risk  of  run  extinction  reflected  by  the  2007  listing  of  Puget  Sound  steelhead  as  a  federally   threatened  species  under  the  Endangered  Species  Act.    The  obligation  of  the  NSRT  member  agencies  and  organizations  as  influential  regional   stakeholders  to  guide  recovery  efforts.    The  desire  for  a  wild  winter  steelhead  population  that  is  self-­‐sustaining,  capable  of  supporting   both  species  recovery  and  harvest  opportunities,  and  resilient  in  the  face  of  a  changing   landscape  and  climate.   1.1.3 Analytical  Framework   In  developing  this  recovery  plan,  the  NSRT  employed  a  science-­‐based  analysis  that  focused  on   gathering  and  synthesizing  the  most  current  habitat  information  available  for  all  subbasins  and   tributary  streams.  The  NSRT  also  compiled  co-­‐manager-­‐derived  stock  assessment  data  and  the  most   current  steelhead  research  findings  to  provide  the  best  possible  and  comprehensive   characterization  of  winter  steelhead  population  characteristics  and  freshwater  habitat  use.     The  recovery  plan  used  the  Ecosystem  Diagnosis  and  Treatment  (EDT)  model  (Mobrand  et  al  1997;   Blair  et  al.  2007)  to  organize  habitat  conditions  and  analyze  the  current  and  historical  production   potential  of  Nisqually  winter  steelhead.  The  EDT  model  results  were  used  to  identify  and  rank   threats  to  population  productivity,  abundance,  and  diversity  based  on  the  relationships  between   environmental  conditions  and  steelhead  life  stage  survival  across  a  range  of  spatial  and  temporal   scales.  The  results  were  also  used  to  evaluate  factors  affecting  current  habitat  potential,  compare   current  to  historical  habitat  potential,  and  compare  benefits  of  possible  actions  to  restore  habitat   potential.  This  analysis  informed  the  compilation  of  data  gaps  and  habitat  protection  and  land-­‐use   strategies  developed  as  part  of  the  recovery  plan.   The  analytical  framework  of  the  recovery  plan  acknowledges  the  consequence  of  data  uncertainty   on  the  assessment  of  threats  to  Nisqually  winter  steelhead  (Section  6.5,  Uncertainty).  This  analysis   focused  on  the  development  of  a  working  hypothesis  to  guide  understanding  of  the  major  habitat   influences  in  predicting  past,  present,  and  future  population  productivity,  abundance,  and  diversity.   These  predictions  were  analyzed  in  terms  of  the  rules  that  translate  environmental  conditions  to   survival.  The  effect  of  variability  and  uncertainty  in  the  knowledge  of  environmental  conditions,  and   the  effect  of  uncertainty  in  fish  spatial  and  temporal  distribution  patterns  need  to  be  recognized   when  reviewing  model  results  presented  in  this  plan.  The  analytical  framework  of  the  recovery  plan   also  included  the  identification  of  data  gaps  (Section  7.4,  Data  Gaps)  drawn  from  analyzing  habitat,   steelhead  population,  and  habitat  use  data  and  considering  research  and  monitoring  needs  (Section   7.5,  Research  and  Monitoring  Needs)  and  the  potential  effects  of  climate  change  on  Nisqually  winter   steelhead  recovery  planning  and  actions  (Section  7.6,  Climate  Change  Considerations).    
  17. 17. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Introduction       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   1-­‐6   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     1.1.4 Implementation,  Adaptive  Management,  and   Monitoring   The  keys  to  achieving  recovery  goals  over  time  are  to  assemble  the  most  recent  and  relevant   information  and  use  this  information  to  report  on  population  status,  patterns  of  fish  use  and   survival,  watershed  habitat  conditions,  and  fish  management  consistent  with  the  established   guidelines.  To  this  end,  steelhead  will  be  included  in  the  ongoing  adaptive  management  framework   established  for  Nisqually  Chinook  recovery  (Nisqually  Chinook  Recovery  Team  2011).  A  central   component  of  the  framework  is  an  annual  project  review  (APR)  in  which  a  four-­‐step  process  is   defined  to  establish  Nisqually  recovery  plan  actions  and  objectives  annually  for  the  upcoming   management  season.     1. Update  key  assumptions.   2. Update  status  and  trends  information.   3. Review  and  apply  the  decision  rules  used  to  set  activities  for  the  upcoming  season.   4. Update  models  to  predict  expected  future  conditions  and  population  response,  and  review  for   consistency  with  goals.     This  recovery  plan  also  incorporates  adaptive  management  and  monitoring  plans  that  are  consistent   with  the  framework  developed  by  the  Puget  Sound  Salmon  Recovery  Implementation  Technical   Team  (RITT)  as  part  of  National  Oceanic  and  Atmospheric  Administration–  (NOAA-­‐)  approved   Chinook  recovery  plans.  The  RITT  has  developed  the  Common  Framework  concept  for  the   development  of  monitoring  and  adaptive  management  plans.  The  Common  Framework  and  its   supporting  database  program  Miradi™  are  expected  to  become  the  standard  conceptual  structure,   format,  and  method  for  reporting  and  tracking  salmon  recovery  in  Puget  Sound.  The  steelhead   recovery  plan  is  expected  to  result  in  products  that  are  both  consistent  with  and  translated  into   Common  Framework  terminology  and  data  management  tools.   1.1.5 Next  Steps   A  comprehensive  steelhead  recovery  plan  is  an  ongoing  process.  Not  included  in  this  draft  of  the   recovery  plan  is  an  analysis  of  management  options  for  more  active  intervention  if  run  size   continues  to  decline  or  remains  at  critically  low  levels.  Also  not  included  in  this  draft  of  the  plan,  but   needed,  is  an  analysis  of  recovery  levels  necessary  to  achieve  community  harvest  goals  for  the   population.  Actions,  strategies,  and  priorities  to  improve  steelhead  survival  and  health  during  their   transit  through  the  Puget  Sound  will  also  be  developed  as  data  and  analyses  from  Salish  Sea  Marine   Survival  research  efforts  become  available.  The  draft  recovery  plan  presented  in  this  document  is   based  on  information  presently  available  from  which  the  NSRT  was  able  to  develop  an   understanding  of  the  current  population  potential  relative  to  its  historical  potential  and  likely   factors  that  caused  the  decline.  The  result  is  a  guide  to  early  actions  for  steelhead  recovery.   Throughout  this  document  the  NSRT  identifies  uncertainty  resulting  from  data  gaps,  an  incomplete   analysis  of  existing  data,  or  a  general  lack  of  knowledge  requiring  future  research/analysis  to  guide   recovery  activities.    
  18. 18. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Introduction Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan 1-7 July 2014 ICF 00153.13 Next steps in the process of steelhead recovery planning also include the following two items. 1. Develop and implement monitoring plans to improve the understanding of steelhead stock health parameters: abundance, productivity, spatial structure, genetic diversity, and life history diversity. 2. Monitor habitat improvement plans and track habitat health using Common Framework data management tools. 1.1.6 Document Contents In addition to this introductory chapter, the recovery plan is organized as follows.  Chapter 2, Recovery Goals and Objectives, presents the long-term vision and short-term goals for Nisqually steelhead.  Chapter 3, Nisqually River Overview, describes the current status of the environment and historical conditions.  Chapter 4, Nisqually River Steelhead, describes what is known about Nisqually steelhead.  Chapter 5, Restoration and Protection Needs, details the diagnosis and identification of habitat protection and restoration needs and priorities for Nisqually steelhead.  Chapter 6, Habitat Recovery Strategies, presents an analysis of the freshwater habitat recovery strategy.  Chapter 7, Nisqually River Steelhead Management, provides an overview of options for hatchery intervention and scenarios for future fish management.  Chapter 8, Implementation, discusses implementation including monitoring and adaptive management.  Chapter 9, References, includes full references cited in this recovery plan.
  19. 19.
  20. 20.     Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   2-­‐1   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     Chapter  2   Recovery  Goals  and  Objectives   The  NSRT  identified  broad  long-­‐term  goals  and  more  specific  shorter-­‐term  goals  for  winter   steelhead  in  the  Nisqually  River  watershed.  These  goals  represent  the  Nisqually  River  watershed   community  vision  for  the  watershed  and  the  future  of  its  salmon  and  steelhead  populations.  Long-­‐ term  and  short-­‐term  goals  include  both  conservation  and  harvest  components,  consistent  with  the   NSRT’s  interest  in  restoring  the  winter  steelhead  population  to  a  point  where  a  sustainable  level  of   tribal  and  recreational  harvest  is  again  possible.  To  meet  these  goals  the  NSRT  identified  strategic   objectives  and  priorities  specific  to  habitat,  fish  management,  and  plan  implementation  including   monitoring  and  adaptive  management.   2.1 Long-­‐Term  Watershed  Goals   The  successful  recovery  of  Nisqually  winter  steelhead  depends  on  addressing  all  of  the  factors   contributing  to  population  declines  through  a  comprehensive  strategy  that  includes  consideration  of   all  sources  of  mortality  from  both  an  ecosystem  perspective  and  a  harvest  perspective,  protection  of   intact  functional  habitat,  and  restoration  of  degraded  conditions  including  provisions  to  mitigate  the   effects  of  hydropower  facilities  where  possible.     The  following  long-­‐term  goals  for  steelhead  in  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  are  intended  to  be   accomplished  within  a  50-­‐to-­‐100-­‐year  timeframe,  but  they  serve  to  guide  short-­‐term  efforts  as  well.   2.1.1 Conservation  Goals     Long-­‐term  conservation  goals  are  intended  to  ensure  the  existence  and  genetic  diversity  of   Nisqually  winter  steelhead,  as  well  as  the  economic,  cultural,  social,  and  aesthetic  benefits  that  the   Nisqually  Tribe  and  all  residents  of  the  watershed  derive  from  a  healthy  Nisqually  River  ecosystem.     The  NSRT  identified  the  following  three  long-­‐term  conservation  goals.      Ensure  a  thriving  and  harvestable  natural  production  of  winter  steelhead  in  perpetuity  by   providing  high  quality,  functioning  habitat  across  a  range  of  habitats  historically  used  by   Nisqually  steelhead.    Ensure  the  long-­‐term  protection  of  the  genetically  unique,  locally  adapted  Nisqually  winter   steelhead  population.    Ensure  that  the  economic,  cultural,  social,  and  aesthetic  benefits  derived  from  the  Nisqually   ecosystem  will  be  sustained  in  perpetuity.   2.1.2 Harvest  Goals     Long-­‐term  harvest  goals  are  intended  to  ultimately  ensure  a  harvestable  population  of  Nisqually   winter  steelhead  for  tribal  and  sport  fishers  that  is  consistent  with  and  supported  by  achievement  of   the  long-­‐term  conservation  goals  and  maintenance  of  a  healthy  Nisqually  River  ecosystem.    
  21. 21. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Recovery  Goals  and  Objectives       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   2-­‐2   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     The  NSRT  identified  the  following  three  long-­‐term  harvest  goals.      Ensure  sustainable  harvest  of  natural-­‐origin  winter  steelhead.    Provide  for  a  winter  steelhead–directed  treaty  fishery  of  approximately  2,500  fish  in  the   Nisqually  River  to  achieve  cultural  and  economic  significance  for  the  Nisqually  Indian  Tribe.    Provide  for  a  full  season  of  winter  steelhead  sport  fishery  in  the  Nisqually  River.   2.2 Short-­‐Term  Recovery  Goals   The  following  short-­‐term  goals  for  steelhead  in  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  are  intended  to  be   accomplished  within  a  5-­‐to-­‐10-­‐year  timeframe  to  slow  the  decline  of  the  population,  preserve  its   genetic  identity,  and  improve  habitat  conditions  as  quickly  as  possible  in  the  watershed.  The  goals   are  intended  to  be  consistent  with  the  long-­‐term  conservation  goals  and  ultimately  work  to  create   conditions  under  which  the  long-­‐term  harvest  goals  can  also  be  accomplished.   2.2.1 Conservation  Goals     Short-­‐term  conservation  goals  are  intended  to  immediately  support  the  protection  and  recovery  of   Nisqually  winter  steelhead  productivity,  abundance,  spatial  distribution,  and  diversity.     The  NSRT  identified  the  following  four  short-­‐term  conservation  goals.      Restore  population  productivity,  abundance,  distribution,  and  diversity  to  levels  sufficient  to   ensure  short-­‐term  and  long-­‐term  viability  of  Nisqually  winter  steelhead.    Protect,  restore,  and  enhance  important  habitat  values  and  functions  important  to  winter   steelhead  throughout  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  and  Puget  Sound.    Protect  the  existing  genetic  and  life  history  diversity  of  steelhead  (including  sympatric  resident   rainbow  trout)  in  the  watershed,  and  promote  the  ability  of  steelhead  to  adapt  to  changing   habitat  conditions.    Ensure  that  local  and  regional  hatchery  programs  for  all  salmonids  are  managed  to  reduce   impacts  on  wild  steelhead  (including  genetic,  competition,  predation,  and  disease  risks).   2.2.2 Harvest  Goals     Short-­‐term  harvest  goals  are  intended  to  immediately  support  the  recovery  and  preservation  of  the   genetic  diversity  of  Nisqually  winter  steelhead,  while  simultaneously  supporting  Nisqually  tribal   ceremonial  and  subsistence  harvest  of  winter  steelhead.   The  NSRT  identified  the  following  two  short-­‐term  harvest  goals.      Restore  population  productivity  and  abundance  levels  adequate  to  provide  sufficient  steelhead   to  eliminate  incidental  harvest  conflicts  (these  recovery  threshold  numbers  have  not  yet  been   estimated)  during  the  Nisqually  treaty  winter  chum  fishery.    Provide  for  a  predictable  Nisqually  tribal  ceremonial  and  subsistence  harvest  (these  recovery   threshold  numbers  have  not  yet  been  estimated).    
  22. 22. Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Team Recovery Goals and Objectives Nisqually River Steelhead Recovery Plan 2-3 July 2014 ICF 00153.13 2.3 Recovery Strategic Objectives Recovery objectives are measurable outcomes of strategies and actions necessary to achieve the long-term and short-term recovery goals for winter steelhead. These objectives were carefully evaluated to determine their relationships to overall goals. The NSRT assumes that achieving recovery objectives will be a significant step toward recovery of Nisqually steelhead. Recovery objectives were divided into habitat objectives, fish management objectives, and monitoring and adaptive-management objectives to reflect the essential components and varying scales across which recovery would need to occur. 2.3.1 Habitat Objectives Habitat objectives are intended to support both long-and short-term conservation goals. These objectives will be achieved through the implementation of priority freshwater restoration and protection strategies. This includes continuing to promote habitat restoration and protection activities identified for Chinook that also benefit steelhead. Habitat objectives will be defined in detail within the action plan. Habitat objectives are also expected to encompass activities intended to better understand critical data gaps regarding factors affecting marine survival and eventually a plan to improve smolt-to-adult survival of Nisqually steelhead. Specific activities toward these objectives are as follows.  Identify habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement actions from the fall Nisqually Chinook Recovery Plan that are relevant to the new actions specific to steelhead. Use this new list of overlapping actions to prioritize and implement actions to achieve recovery goals for both species and secure recovery funding.  Identify habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement actions unique to steelhead, and develop a method for incorporating habitat restoration actions with a focus on steelhead into the Nisqually-wide salmon recovery portfolio of actions.  Identify how findings of marine survival research are relevant to recovery of Nisqually steelhead.  Support the incorporation of marine survival research findings into a Puget Sound-wide steelhead recovery plan, and implement strategies with the greatest likelihood to improve smolt-to-adult survival, including indirect benefits through an ecosystem approach to recovery.  Support the development and implementation of actions to improve marine survival at scales relevant to the Nisqually Demographically Independent Population (DIP) specifically, and the Puget Sound Distinct Population Segment (DPS) as a whole. 2.3.2 Fish Management Objectives Fish management objectives are intended to support both the long- and short-term harvest goals and ensure fishery-related mortality does not impede recovery. This is best achieved by having clearly defined management plans guiding steelhead harvest levels and resident rainbow population management. Fish management objectives also include the need to ensure short- and long-term population genetic diversity and viability.
  23. 23. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Recovery  Goals  and  Objectives       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   2-­‐4   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     Specific  strategies  to  achieve  these  objectives  are  as  follows.    Develop  and  implement  a  winter  steelhead  management  plan  to  guide  future  sustainable   harvest,  including  escapement  targets,  and  thresholds  for  indirect  and  targeted  harvest.      Develop  and  implement  a  resident  rainbow  trout  management  plan  to  guide  resident  fish   harvest  and  incidental  mortality  of  juvenile  steelhead  encountered  in  the  fishery.    Develop  and  implement  a  hatchery  rainbow  trout  stocking  plan  in  lakes  to  reduce    potential   genetic  and  ecological  impacts  on  steelhead  and    resident  rainbow  trout.    Develop  a  steelhead  hatchery  conservation  plan  and  criteria  as  necessary  to  protect  population   genetic  diversity  and  viability.   2.3.3 Monitoring  and  Adaptive-­‐Management  Objectives   Monitoring  and  adaptive-­‐management  objectives  are  intended  to  integrate  steelhead  recovery   efforts  with  other  salmon  recovery  efforts  in  the  watershed,  to  track  the  effectiveness  of  steelhead   recovery  efforts  and  address  data  gaps  identified  in  the  plan.  Specific  strategies  to  achieve  these   objectives  are  as  follows.     1. Develop  a  monitoring  program  that  will  describe  the  population  sufficiently  to  ensure  progress   toward  goals,  or  lack  thereof,  is  detected.  The  program  would  include  such  elements  as:   a. Estimates  of  adult  steelhead  run  size,  escapement,  and  total  brood  year  adult  recruits.   b. Estimates  of  juvenile  outmigrants  and  annual  smolt-­‐to-­‐adult  survival  estimates.   c. Monitoring  habitat  status  and  trends   2. Incorporate  steelhead  into  the  existing  Nisqually  River  adaptive-­‐management  framework   developed  for  fall  Chinook,  including  the  APR  workshops   3. Incorporate  steelhead  threat  analysis  and  recovery  strategies  into  the  Puget  Sound   Partnership’s  Monitoring  and  Adaptive  Management  (M&AM)  project  data  structure  that  is   based  on  the  RITT’s  Common  Framework.   4. Complete  and  implement  recommendations  of  an  assessment  of  the  resident  and  anadromous   genetic  resource  in  the  Nisqually  River  watershed,  including  O.  mykiss  upstream  of  the  Tacoma   Power  dams.   5. Complete  a  review  of  hatchery  rainbow  trout  stocking  programs  in  the  watershed  (origin,  life   history,  reproductive  cycle,  risk  of  hybridization,  etc.)  and  evaluate  their  potential  impact  on   wild  winter  steelhead.   6. Assess  nanophyetus1  impacts  on  steelhead  survival  upon  marine  entry.   7. Identify  landscape-­‐scale  pressures  that  are  causing  habitat  degradation  and  incorporate   strategies  to  reduce  or  mitigate  these  pressures  into  habitat  actions.                                                                                                                               1  Nanophyetus  salmincola  is  a  trematode  common  in  the  Pacific  Northwest  that  uses  salmonids  as  one  of  three   hosts.  The  Salish  Sea  Survival  Project  has  identified  it  as  a  possible  explanation  of  the  observed  low  marine  survival   of  Puget  Sound  steelhead.  
  24. 24.     Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   3-­‐1   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     Chapter  3   Nisqually  River  Overview   This  chapter  describes  current  and  historical  conditions  in  the  Nisqually  River,  its  delta  and   particular  subbasins  integral  to  steelhead  production.  Specific  habitat  characteristics  important  to   the  EDT  model  are  also  summarized.  In  addition,  factors  that  affect  steelhead  habitat,  such  as  land   use  and  hydromodification  of  the  Nisqually  River,  are  described.   3.1 Nisqually  River  Watershed   The  ancestral  home  of  the  Nisqually  Indian  Tribe,  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  (Figure  3-­‐1),  Water   Resource  Inventory  Area  11  (WRIA  11)  was  one  of  the  earliest  areas  settled  by  European-­‐American   immigrants  in  Puget  Sound.  The  watershed  was  prized  for  its  deep-­‐water  access  to  salt  water,  large   tracts  of  pristine  old  growth  forests,  native  prairies,  fertile  river  valleys,  and  numerous  species  of   wildlife  and  abundant  runs  of  salmon  (Kerwin  1999).  The  Hudson’s  Bay  Company  established  Fort   Nisqually  as  a  fur  trading  post  in  1833  near  the  mouth  of  the  Nisqually  River.  Homesteads  and   settlements  began  appearing  in  the  1840s.  The  new  arrivals  initiated  a  series  of  actions  to  modify   the  landscape  to  fit  their  needs,  including  diking  the  estuary  (1904  through  the  late  1920s),   construction  of  the  Yelm  Hydroelectric  Project  (1929),  and  the  La  Grande  Hydroelectric  Project,  now   called  by  Tacoma  Power  the  Nisqually  River  Project  (1910)  (Kerwin  1999).     3.1.1 Subbasins  and  Ecoregions   The  Nisqually  River  originates  from  the  Nisqually  Glacier  on  the  southern  slope  of  Mount  Rainier   and  flows  west-­‐northwest  for  approximately  78  miles  until  it  enters  south  Puget  Sound  8  miles   northeast  of  Olympia,  Washington.  The  Nisqually  River  is  fed  by  rainfall,  snowmelt,  and  to  a  lesser   extent  by  glacial  melt.  Its  watershed  encompasses  an  area  of  approximately  761  square  miles.  The   geographic  extent  of  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  follows  the  State  of  Washington’s  WRIA  11   (Figure  3-­‐1).     Two  streams  that  discharge  directly  into  the  Nisqually  estuary  are  typically  considered  part  of  the   Nisqually  River  watershed  for  planning  purposes:  McAllister  Creek,  which  discharges  into  the   western  portion  of  the  estuary  and  Red  Salmon  Creek,  which  discharges  into  the  eastern  portion  of   the  estuary.  The  watershed  contains  332  streams  that  total  a  linear  distance  of  714  miles   (Williams  et  al.  1975).     The  La  Grande  Canyon,  at  RM  42,  divides  the  watershed  into  two  distinct  physiographic  areas.   Downstream  of  the  canyon,  the  watershed  consists  of  low  hills  and  plains  of  glacial  outwash.   Upstream  of  the  canyon,  volcanic  rocks  and  steeper  mountainous  terrain  dominate  the  area.  The   canyon  itself  contains  sheer  cliffs  extending  upward  of  200  feet.  Upper  Nisqually  River  watershed   refers  to  the  portion  of  the  watershed  that  is  upstream  of  La  Grande  Canyon  and  lower  Nisqually   Basin  refers  to  the  portion  of  the  watershed  below  La  Grande  Canyon.      
  25. 25. Graphics/00153.13NisquallySteelheadRecoveryPlanning(12-13)SS Figure 3-1 Anadromous Portion of the Nisqually River Watershed (WRIA 11)
  26. 26. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Nisqually  River  Overview       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   3-­‐3   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     La  Grande  Dam,  located  at  RM  42.5  on  the  Nisqually  River,  is  the  current  upstream  boundary  of   anadromous  salmonids  in  the  watershed  and  is  also  the  likely  upper  extent  of  the  historical   distribution  of  anadromous  salmonids  in  the  watershed  (Chapter  4,  Nisqually  River  Steelhead).   Consequently,  only  615  of  1,149  possible  linear  kilometers  of  streams  in  the  watershed  have  the   potential  for  anadromous  fish  use.  However,  much  of  this  potential  habitat  comprises  streams  with   insufficient  flow  to  accommodate  steelhead  utilization  or  is  above  natural  migration  barriers.  This   assessment  evaluated  steelhead  potential  across  321  linear  kilometers  of  streams.     In  addition  to  historical  accounts,  the  description  of  pre-­‐European  settlement  conditions  in  the   lower  Nisqually  River  watershed  uses  characteristics  of  the  U.S.  Environmental  Protection  Agency’s   (EPA)  level  IV  ecoregions  described  for  the  area  by  Pater  et  al.  (1998).  Ecoregions  denote  areas  of   general  similarity  in  ecosystems  and  in  the  type,  quality,  and  quantity  of  environmental  resources.   They  are  designed  to  serve  as  a  spatial  framework  for  the  research,  assessment,  management,  and   monitoring  of  ecosystems  and  ecosystem  components  (Pater  et  al.  1998).  Ecological  regions  are   identified  through  analysis  of  the  patterns  and  composition  of  biotic  and  abiotic  phenomena  (e.g.,   geology,  physiography,  vegetation,  climate,  soils)  that  reflect  differences  in  ecosystem  quality  and   integrity.  For  the  Nisqually  River  watershed,  the  description  of  these  ecoregions  is  of  sufficient  detail   to  help  formulate  a  hypothesis  of  the  watershed’s  aquatic  environment.     The  lower  Nisqually  River  watershed  falls  within  three  level  IV  ecoregions  (Figure  3-­‐2).  All  of  the   EDT  analysis  streams  fall  within  the  Southern  Puget  Prairies  level  IV  ecoregion,2  with  the  exception   of  tributaries  of  Ohop  Creek  (Lynch  and  Twenty-­‐Five  Mile  Creeks)  and  the  Mashel  River  watershed.   As  summarized  in  Table  3-­‐1,  the  Southern  Puget  Prairies  ecoregion  comprises  nearly  level  to  rolling   glacial  outwash  plains  and  ground  moraines  (Pater  et  al.  1998).  Well-­‐drained  soils  promote  a  land   cover  mosaic  of  Douglas  fir/western  hemlock  forests,  prairies,  and  oak  woodlands.  The  majority  of   Lynch  and  Twenty-­‐Five  Mile  Creeks  and  the  Mashel  River  flow  through  the  Western  Cascades   Lowlands  and  Valleys  ecoregion.  Streams  in  this  ecoregion  are  medium  gradient,  with  headwaters  in   western  hemlock,  western  red  cedar,  and  Douglas  fir  forests  and  lower  reaches  in  valleys  near   confluences  with  the  Nisqually  River.  The  Nisqually  watershed  falls  within  the  jurisdiction  of  three   counties.  The  entire  watershed  north  of  the  Nisqually  River  is  within  the  jurisdiction  of  Pierce   County  and  forms  its  southern  boundary.  The  upper  watershed  south  of  the  Nisqually  River  is  in   Lewis  County,  and  the  lower  watershed  south  of  the  Nisqually  falls  within  the  jurisdiction  of   Thurston  County.                                                                                                                               2  The  level  IV  ecoregions  depicted  in  Figure  3-­‐2  were  compiled  at  a  scale  of  1:250,000  and  are,  therefore,  subject  to   errors  of  scale.    
  27. 27. Graphics/00153.13NisquallySteelheadRecoveryPlanning(12-13)SS Figure 3-2 EPA Level IV Ecoregions in the Lower Nisqually River Watershed
  28. 28. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Nisqually  River  Overview       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   3-­‐5   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     Table  3-­‐1.   Characteristics  of  EPA  Level  IV  Ecoregions  in  the  Lower  Nisqually  Basin     Level  IV  Ecoregion   2g.  Southern  Puget  Prairies   4a.  Western  Cascades  Lowlands   and  Valleys   4b.  Western  Cascades  Montane   Highlands   Physiography   Description   Nearly  level  to  rolling  glacial   outwash  and  till  plains  with  low   gradient  streams  and  lakes   Westerly  trending  ridges  and  valleys   with  reservoirs  and  medium   gradient  rivers  and  streams.  U-­‐ shaped,  glaciated  valleys  in  the  east.   Steep,  glaciated,  dissected  mountains  and   ridges  with  high  to  medium  gradient  streams   and  glacial  rock-­‐basin  lakes.   Elevation/Local  Relief   (feet)   0–900   200–500   800–4,000   400–3,000   2,800–5,900   2,000–3,100   Geology   Surficial  material  and   bedrock   Pleistocene  Vashon  Glacial  outwash   and  till  deposits   Oligocene-­‐Eocene  andesitic,  basaltic,   and  rhyolitic  lava  flows  and  breccia.   Oligocene-­‐Miocene  andesitic  and  basaltic   lava  flows  and  breccia.   Soil   Order  (Great  Groups)   Inceptisols  (Durochrepts,   Xerumbrepts),  Andisols   (Melanoxerands)   Inceptisols  (Haplumbrepts),  Ultisols   (Haplohumults,  Palehumults),   Andisols  (Haploxerands)   Inceptisols  (Haplumbrepts),  Andisols   (Hapludands,  Fulvicryands,  Haplocryands)   Common  Soil  Series   Alderwood,  Everett,  Spanaway,   Nisqually.  Deep,  moderately  well   drained  to  somewhat  excessively   well-­‐drained,  gravelly  loam,  gravelly   sandy  loam,  very  gravelly  sandy   loam,  loamy  fine  sand.   Klickitat,  Kinney,  McCully,  Peavine,   Honeygrove,  Orford,  Olympic,   Cinebar.  Very  deep  to  deep,  clay   loam,  silty  clay  loam,  silt  loam,   gravelly  clay  loam,  gravelly  silt  loam,   cobbly  loam.   Keel,  Hummington,  Aschoff,  Bull  Run,   Illahee,  Mellowmoon.  Very  deep  to   moderately  deep,  silt  loam,  gravelly  silt   loam,  gravelly  loam,  cobbly  loam.   Temperature/Moisture   Regimes   Mesic/   Xeric   Mesic/   Udic   Frigid,   Cryic/   Udic  
  29. 29. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Nisqually  River  Overview       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   3-­‐6   July  2014   ICF  00153.13       Level  IV  Ecoregion   2g.  Southern  Puget  Prairies   4a.  Western  Cascades  Lowlands   and  Valleys   4b.  Western  Cascades  Montane   Highlands   Climate   Precipitation  Mean   annual  (inches)   40–55   60–90   70–120   Frost  Free  Mean  annual   (days)   150–210   120–180   80–120   Mean  Temperature   January  min/max;   July  min/max,     (°F)   34/46;   52/77   31/41;   47/78   26/37;   44/75   Potential  Natural   Vegetation   Douglas-­‐fir,  prairies;  some  oak   woodland,  western  hemlock,  red   cedar   Western  hemlock,  western  red  cedar,   Douglas-­‐fir.   Pacific  silver  fir,  western  hemlock,   mountain  hemlock,  Douglas-­‐fir;  some   noble  fir.  Ecoregion  4b  is  higher  in   elevation  than  ecoregion  4a  and  is  snow   influenced.   Land  Use  and  Land  Cover   Douglas-­‐fir/western  hemlock   forests,  prairies,  oak  woodlands.   Forestry,  hay  farming,  pastureland.   Mix  of  military  and  private  land   ownership   Douglas-­‐fir/western   hemlock/western  red  cedar/vine   maple/red  alder  forests  are  wide-­‐ spread.  Forestry  and  recreation  are   important  land  uses  and   pastureland  occurs  in  lower  valleys.   Extensive  Pacific  silver  fir/western   hemlock/Douglas-­‐fir/mountain   hemlock/noble  fir/sub-­‐alpine  fir/grand   fir/white  fir  forests.  Common  land  uses   include  forestry  and  recreation.  Eco-­‐ region  4b  is  an  important  regional  water   source.   Source:  Pater  et  al.  1998  
  30. 30. Nisqually  Steelhead  Recovery  Team     Nisqually  River  Overview       Nisqually  River  Steelhead  Recovery  Plan   3-­‐7   July  2014   ICF  00153.13     3.1.2 Land  Use   The  headwaters  of  the  Nisqually  River  are  protected  by  Mount  Rainier  National  Park,  and  its  estuary   resides  in  the  Nisqually  National  Wildlife  Refuge  (Nisqually  River  Task  Force  1987).  Between  the   federally  protected  headwaters  and  estuary,  the  Nisqually  River  watershed  is  a  mixture  of  private   and  public  lands.     The  Nisqually  River  watershed  is  relatively  undeveloped  compared  to  other  south  Puget  Sound   rivers.  The  land  use  percentages  in  the  upper  Nisqually  River  watershed  as  estimated  in  2000   (David  Evans  &  Associates  2000)  were  as  follows.    Agricultural  and  Vacant  Land       2%    Forestry  and  Recreation       78%    National  Park           18%    Urban/Residential/Commercial       2%   Pierce  County  recently  estimated  the  percentage  of  land  use  for  tributary  subbasins  in  its  jurisdiction   (Pierce  County  2012).  The  area  west  of  Eatonville  encompassing  the  Murray  Creek,  Brighton  Creek,   Horn  Creek,  Harts  Lake,  Tanwax  Creek,  Kreger  Creek  and  lower  Ohop  Creek  subbasins  is   approximately  50%  rural-­‐residential,  12%  to  30%  open  space,  and  5%  to  10%  agricultural.  The   portion  of  the  watershed  east  of  Eatonville  that  includes  the  Mashel  River  subbasin  consists  of  25%   rural  residential  and  75%  forested  land  (Pierce  County  2012).  Land  use  within  the  Muck  Creek   subbasin,  the  largest  tributary  by  area  to  the  lower  Nisqually  River,  was  estimated  to  be  32%   residential  and  37%  open  space,  with  25%  of  the  basin  within  Fort  Lewis  (Pierce  County  2005).     Major  public  landholdings  in  the  watershed  include  the  Mount  Baker-­‐Snoqualmie  National  Forest,   Gifford  Pinchot  National  Forest,  Mount  Rainier  National  Park,  Washington  Department  of  Natural   Resources  lands  (WDNR),  and  the  City  of  Tacoma  (Nisqually  River  Project).  Large  timber  holdings   include  real  estate  investment  companies  (Hancock,  West  Fork,  ORM  Timber  Fund,  WACF  TA,  and   TWR  Timberlands),  Weyerhaeuser  Timber  Company,  the  Muckleshoot  Indian  Tribe,  and  Manke   Timber  Company.  Due  to  the  significant  land  ownership  by  natural  resource  agencies  and  timber   companies,  only  a  small  portion  of  the  upper  watershed  has  undergone  urban  or  residential   development  (2%).   Large  sections  of  land  adjacent  to  the  Nisqually  River  in  the  lower  watershed  lie  within  Joint  Base   Lewis-­‐McChord  (JBLM  –  Department  of  Defense)  or  the  Nisqually  Indian  Reservation  and  are   protected  from  typical  development.  As  it  flows  west,  the  Nisqually  River  bisects  Fort  Lewis.  Fort   Lewis  is  north  (Pierce  County)  of  the  river  from  RM  19  to  RM  2.3;  the  military  base  is  south  of  the   river  (Thurston  County)  from  RM  17.6  to  RM  14  and  RM  12.3  to  RM  11.  The  Nisqually  Indian   Reservation  bounds  the  river  in  Thurston  County  from  RM  11  to  RM  5.4.     Additional  conservation  easements  and  outright  purchases  by  the  Nisqually  Land  Trust  have   expanded  protection  of  shoreline  and  floodplain  habitats  on  the  Nisqually  River  mainstem  and   estuary,  Ohop  Creek,  and  lower  Mashel  River.  As  of  2013  and  across  all  entities,  72%  of  the   Nisqually  River  shoreline  below  Alder  Dam  is  in  protected  status  (Nisqually  Indian  Tribe  n.d.).   However,  the  Whitewater,  McKenna,  and  Wilcox  reaches  of  the  Nisqually  River  mainstem  are  only   67%,  21%,  and  49%  protected,  respectively.  In  Ohop  Creek,  downstream  of  the  lake,  39%  of  the   shoreline  is  protected  and  the  lower  7  miles  of  the  Mashel  River  69%  is  protected.  Land  uses  in  the  

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