There are a number of initiatives at any one time at the UCSRB that together focus on the health of our forests and our progress in recovery through the use and synthesis of the best available science. The UCSRB believes that healthy forests and healthy rivers are inextricably linked to healthy communities. The effective management of North Central Washington’s natural resources will create a lasting legacy of aesthetic, economic and cultural values.
There are fish species in the Upper Columbia listed under the Endangered Species Act – Upper Columbia Spring Chinook (endangered), Upper Columbia Steelhead (threatened), and bull trout (threatened). The UCSRB works with partners to facilitate implementation of salmon habitat restoration and protection projects that are consistent with the Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan. The UCSRB also coordinates with entities working in those sectors outside of habitat (i.e. hatchery, harvest and hydropower) to report progress toward program goals that similarly contribute to recovery.
Science is the foundation of understanding. The UCSRB works with both natural and social science to understand the biological, physical and societal implications of ongoing river restoration efforts. Through our science program, the UCSRB tracks progress toward recovery goals through integrated recovery reporting, and by providing ongoing synthesis of the best available technical information that guides effective implementation. This science feeds into an adaptive process that enables us to learn by doing through continued evaluation.
The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest comprises 70% of the combined land base in Okanogan and Chelan counties. Most of our snowpack dominated streams originate on National Forest managed lands. Additionally, many of the listed bull trout populations reside on National Forest managed lands. Through the forest health program, the UCSRB facilitates a collaborative approach to accelerating the footprint and pace of restoration across these lands in North Central Washington. An effective management approach that includes active restoration of forest lands has important implications for surrounding communities, regional economics, and the aquatic systems that originate in and wind through these lands.
The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board (UCSRB), in partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (DOE) Office of the Columbia River and Ecotrust has developed a forest restoration decision support tool aimed at increasing water yields across North Central Washington. The goal of the project is retain and increase snowpack for instream and out-of-stream uses in the Upper Columbia and its tributaries. The tool is used to support large-scale restoration of forests in areas where snowpack is the primary source of late season flows by helping to target restoration efforts in areas where benefits to snowpack retention, streamflow, and aquatic habitat will be greatest. Given predicted changes in water supply and timing of flow this work will be critical to ensure that natural hydrologic process are functioning in a way that allows for future human and natural demands.
The UCSRB has a whole-watershed, Ridgetop-to-River approach to salmon recovery. Water availability, especially during the late summer, is one factor that affects salmon populations in the Upper Columbia. One of the several approaches to increasing the amount of water available for instream flow in the late summer is by increasing the capture and duration of storage of mountain snowpack. This tool builds on Pacific NW National Laboratory’s Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation model (DSHVM) to identify both how forest restoration activity affects downstream flows and where to target upstream restoration activities to benefit specific in-stream location.
The tool is located at http://s2f.ucsrg.org
There are three use cases:
- Identify good treatment areas by selecting the stream you wish to increase flow to
- Identify good treatment areas by region and other landscape considerations, or
- Explicitly draw your intended treatment area to see how streamflow will be impacted
In use cases 1 and 2, the user will select a region of interest either by selecting a stream or a watershed. They will then be presented with a series of filters to narrow down available forestland to ideal treatment candidates. In use case three, the user simply draws the outline of the proposed treatment area. Once done with this, all users will be brought to the results page.
Results will appear in two parts:
- Forest Management Summary: which is details about the landscape impacted, including fractional coverage, landforms, and Habitat Characteristics
2. Flow Results: Once you have selected a virtual gaging station (dots on the map along the stream), you will be presented with:
A. A summary of basin characteristics, hydrologic characteristics, 3 proposed management scenarios, and flow estimation confidence, and,
B. A wide variety of graphs illustrating the impacts of the 3 proposed management scenarios on flow against the current baseline.