Strategic Plan 2012 – 2014

 

UPPER NEHALEM WATERSHED COUNCIL 

2012-2014 STRATEGIC PLAN

Adopted: APRIL 26th, 2012

Updated: Winter 2012, Spring 2013

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WHO WE ARE

The Upper Nehalem Watershed Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection, preservation, enhancement and restoration of the Upper Nehalem Watershed and the Nehalem Watershed as a whole. We address watershed management issues in the Upper Nehalem Watershed and provide a framework for coordination and cooperation among key interests, including:

  • Land Owners (Rural, Urban – public, private)
  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts (Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook, Washington)
  • Forestry (public, private, small woodlot)
  • Environmental Groups (Izaak Walton League, Pacific Rainforest, Freshwater Trust, Oregon Wild)
  • Land Trust (Lower Nehalem Community, North Coast, Western Rivers, The Nature Conservancy)
  • Agriculture (Green Grange)
  • Local Government (City, County, State, Federal)
  • Citizens-at-Large
  • Small Business Owners
  • Local School Districts (Vernonia, Jewell)
  • Youth Groups (Scouts, OYCC)
  • Neighboring Watershed Councils (Lower Nehalem, Tualatin, Lower Columbia, Scappoose Bay, NC

Watershed Association, Necanicum)

 

THE WATERSHED

The Upper Nehalem Watershed Council boundary includes the Upper Nehalem, Middle Nehalem and most of the Lower Nehalem class V watersheds. The Council boundary covers an area of 541 square miles in four counties (Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook and Washington).

OUR MISSION

To foster better stewardship and understanding of the Upper Nehalem Watershed and its resources, to address issues in advance of resource degradation, and to ensure sustainable watershed health, function and use.

OUR VISION

A balanced ecosystem that supports a healthy watershed, contributes to a strong economic base, and encourages viable communities.

OUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR 2012-2014

Red: winter 2012/13

Blue: spring 2013

 

GOAL 1.  IMPROVE THE WATER QUALITY AND AQUATIC HABITAT OF THE UPPER NEHALEM WATERSHED.

Sub-goal 1.1:  Protect, restore, and reconnect the riparian/wetland/floodplain ecosystem along essential salmon habitat reaches throughout the Upper Nehalem watershed.

Project objectives:

 

  • Riparian restoration DEQ (current and future)–Enlist 5 new landowners, plant 5000 trees on 15 acres, and re-vegetate 1000 feet of eroding stream banks in each year of the plan.  (To be completed by May 2012, May 2013, and May 2014) Completed work under 021-11 contract. Work in-progress under 035-12 contract. Working on final report with Ben and crew – will turn in before June 30th deadline – DEQ retains 10% of funds until report is approved. New contract for 2013 soon to be in effect – Contract #038-12 was fully executed on 4-16-13.  2014 pre-proposal has been approved by DEQ – soon to progress to contract level. Completed full application with budget/work plan – waiting for DEQ to indicate what the next move is.

 

  • Landowner outreach (current)–Enlist 20 landowners to partner with UNWC on riparian planting.  (By December 2012) Completed by: Jones Consulting and Schlosser Consulting by grant deadline 12-31-12. Col. SWCD has also been conducting outreach in the upper Nehalem basin.  Working with them to reduce duplication of effort and increase effectiveness.  Slow progress on outreach collaboration with Columbia SWCD – hopeful moving forward.  UNWC crew is making progress planting the new cooperator sites.

 

  • Walker (future)–Follow up previous in-stream large wood placement with riparian planting along 5 miles of Walker Creek.  Yet to be fully developed in a fundable project.  Application submitted to OWEB – not funded.  Boswell (consultant) is working on refining project scope with landowner Hampton Affiliates.  No visible progress by consultant.  UNWC could choose to reapply with new contractor or in-house personnel.

 

  • Limiting Factors Analysis (future)–Develop and carry out a riparian restoration plan for Rock Creek based on the results of the LFA.  Developed and submitted an OWEB proposal in April – was not funded.  Meeting with BioSurveys this month to rework the proposal that was submitted last spring and not funded by OWEB.  Continued working with ODFW, BioSurveys and landowners (ODF, Stimson, Longview Timber Company) to develop this project for funding/implementation.  Will submit OWEB application October 2013.

 

  • Carmichael/Nehalem/Tweedle –Develop engineered design and implementation plan for restoration of wetland edge.  Developed and submitted an OWEB proposal in April – was not funded.  OWEB RRT visited site in 12-12.  Developing a revised application w/OWEB, landowner, Carex Consulting and other advisors – plan to re-submit in April.  In-progress – PCJV grant was received last summer for planning.  Working with landowner, Carex Consulting and other advisors to implement the PCJV project.  Survey/mapping phase in the works.  DSL wetland mitigation an option being explored by Carex Consulting and landowner instead of resubmitting an OWEB application.

 

  • Fishhawk Sub-basin/Lake (future)–Restore riparian and salmon habitat areas above and below and around the lake.  Landowner outreach in Dec 2012.  Working on new MOU’s. Will continue. Col. SWCD doing outreach in the basin as well.  Need to explore opps to collaborate with Col. and Clatsop SWCD on Landowner outreach and project development.

 

  • Fishhawk Lake – Spillway/Fishladder – working with community on funding application to OWEB.  Engineered designs – in-progress. Participated in a planning meeting with key Fishhawk folks – plan to meet quarterly to continue project development.  Sharing the project info with Oregon Solutions Team in hopes that the will adopt the project. Plan to submit an OWEB application in October.  Need to invite OWEB Regional Project Manager to visit the site and discuss options for applying for funding.

 

  • Fleming Pond – Wetland mitigation – working with Mist Birkenfeld Fire Department, NRCS, Carex Consulting, Bruce Fleming and Vernonia School district to complete wetland planting in winter/spring 2013.  Phase I of planting complete – foundation plants in.  Will return in the fall to install more plant species.  Hope to involve Vernonia/Mist students in the next phase of planting.  Working with Chief to be sure proper irrigation system is set up before summer.  Working with local hired hand to spray reed canary grass along perimeter of site – to keep it from encroaching into new wetland.

Sub-goal 1.2:  Improve aquatic habitat complexity through large wood placement, riparian plantings, culvert replacement, and road re-alignment and decommissioning along high priority reaches.

Project objectives:

 

  • Lower Beneke (current)–Continue a multi-year project to restore salmon habitat within the Fishhawk and Beneke Creek sub-basins (2.5 miles of the Beneke and Gilmore Creeks) by planting a 1000 trees and 500 tree protection structures and by placing logs in-stream at identified locations (by December 2012).  LWD placement completed in summer 2012 (107 logs).  419 tree protection structures built plus approx. 3000 planted, to date.  In-progress – 90 additional tree protection structures to be built in January 2013. OWEB final report submitted online – approved – final payment received.  Ben assisted with GIS mapping of project.

 

  • Pebble Creek – Phase I (complete)–Continue multi-year restoration work along Pebble and Coal Creeks that includes replacing culverts, installing erosion control at new culverts, placing logs along Pebble and West Pebble Creeks, and planting 5 miles of stream with native plant species.  (by December 2012, planting through 2014)  3 culverts replaced, 1 with a bridge, erosion control in, all LWD (300+ logs) placed. Remaining riparian plantings to be installed early 2013. OWEB completion report submitted online – approved – final payment received.

 

  • Pebble Creek Phase II (future)–Continue to improve salmon access, habitat and riparian condition. (2013).  Phase II project developed – applied to OWEB and the Governor’s Fund for the Environment (pre-proposal – invited to submit full proposal by January 31st).  OWEB RRT site visit Dec 2012.  Field Reconnaissance on going fall 2012- summer 2013. Working with Weyerhaeuser and contractor to locate 800 trees. 107 blowdowns located so far. Received OWEB and NFWF grants – grant agreements in the works. 400+ cull trees located.  More field recon planned for early May with Weyerhaeuser, ODFW and Aquatic.

 

  • Tweedle (complete)–Plant, clear, and fence along ¾ mile of the Nehalem River and 1200 feet of Tweedle.  (by December 2012) Done.  Completion report in-progress. Completion report for passage and riparian submitted and approved by OWEB.  Final payment received.  Post effectiveness monitoring report submitted and approved by OWEB for large wood placement project completed under OWEB small grant.

 

  • Lousignont (future)–Install riparian plantings and LWD placement in two stretches of the Lousignont sub-basin identified as priorities in the Data Synthesis and Mapping project. (by December 2012).  LWD placed at 15 sites -summer 2012, 6,000+ feet of road decommission complete, no plantings will be done. Ben and I walked/mapped the project and will work together to submit OWEB on-line completion report in May.

 

  • Oak Ranch (future)–Replace two culverts on Apiary Road in order to restore access to 7 of the creek’s 9 miles of salmon spawning, rearing and refuge habitat and improve 3 miles of salmon habitat including adjacent riparian habitat.  OWEB Project planning grant received – in-progress. Goal to apply for construction grant in Oct. 2013.  Lee drafted scope of work for engineer – in review now with county and ODFW.  Submitted a grant request to NOAA for construction cost share.  No word on level of acceptance from NOAA.

Sub-goal 1.3:  Encourage agencies responsible for survey and treatment of invasive species to focus their efforts in the Nehalem watershed from the headwaters to Nehalem Bay.

Project objectives:

  • Work with Columbia and Clatsop County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to assess the current status of invasive species with-in the Nehalem watershed (including Japanese knotweed, English Ivy, Reed Canary Grass, Scotch Broom, Jewell Weed, Himalayan Blackberry, and Yellow Iris) and to identify priorities for action; assist the CWSD’s to address the priorities by site survey, recruiting landowners and other volunteers to help with the project.  (On-going) Will contact both Clatsop and Columbia SWCD and determine status of knotweed treatment programs in the Nehalem basin in the spring of 2013. Yet to be done.

Sub-goal 1.4:  Continue to partner with other Nehalem watershed stakeholders to maximize the benefit to the watershed.

Project objectives:

  • Nehalem Conservation Action Plan (current)–As a member of the Implementation Team for the recently completed assessment/plan, develop and implement projects in our watershed that sync with identified priorities and the activities of other team members. (on-going) implementations plan in development now – serving on forestry and freshwater habitat committees.  Ben, Gareth and I completed the technical assistance application and submitted to OWEB April 22nd.  TA app requests funds for in-house personnel to conduct GIS analysis, field recon and landowner outreach to identify and develop a suite of high priority projects that can be economically implemented.

GOAL 2:  MONITOR AND EVALUATE WATERSHED CONDITIONS.

Sub-goal 2.1:  Monitor stream temperature loading in the Nehalem by collecting continuous Temperature data from strategically located sites basin-wide and share data with agencies and others concerned.

Project objectives:

  • DEQ (current)–Install 20 temperature-monitoring devices in priority areas and compare data with previous baseline data to establish trends.  (by December 2012).  18 Hobos placed with DEQ/Vernonia School support – data download and analysis to be done early 2013.  Will deploy hobos again in the summer of 2013. Requested 28 Hobo’s from DEQ for this summer’s temp monitoring project.  8 will be deployed at the Carmichael wetland restoration site and 20 at the pre-determined sites in the upper Nehalem and a few in the lower.  Students will be involved in placement again this summer.  A QAPP will need to be developed for both projects.

 

  • Fishhawk Sub-basin/Lake (current)–measure temperatures in-stream and in lake (including deep holes) to compare with previous data.  In-progress.  Community effort with DEQ/UNWC support.  Plan to work with Fishhawk community to deploy temp gauge above, in and below lake, summer 2013.

 

Sub-goal 2.2:  Monitor sediment loading in the Nehalem by collecting turbidity samples from public access points basin-wide.

Project objectives:

  • DEQ (current)–Collect regular samples of turbidity from 30+ Upper Nehalem sites (by June 2012,13).  In-progress. UNWC crew collecting winter 2013 samples weekly from 30+ sites. 2011 and 12 data sent to DEQ.  Fishhawk community collecting samples at water treatment plant water intake.  UNWC crew collected turbidity samples this winter.  Ben will enter data into database and submit data to DEQ for inclusion into LASAR database.  Received a brand new Turbidity meter from DEQ.  Completed a Quality Assurance Project Plan as a condition of receiving the equipment.

Sub-goal 2.3:  Track aquatic health using stream, salmon presence, and water quantity and quality surveys.

Project objectives:

  • Limiting Factors Analysis (current)–Make two community presentations on the survey data collected in the Rock Creek sub-basin; develop priorities for implementation projects, develop and implement projects.  (by December 2012)  One presentation to UNWC done by BioSurveys in 2012.  Participated in a field trip to upper Rock Creek with BioSurveys and NOAA policy advisor. The main focus of the field trip was to observe Beaver habitat and discuss the role of Beaver in creating and maintaining high value Coho habitat, as per NOAA Coho Recovery plan under ESA.

 

  • Rapid Bio Assessment II and III (current)–Measure the abundance of juvenile salmonids along 226 miles of watershed to compare the distribution and spatial shifts from previous assessment.  (by September 2012)  RBA III final submitted/approved.  RBA II final in-progress.  All data received from WOU. RBA data used in Pebble II field reconnaissance.  Ben and I will work together on the completion report for RBA II May – June.

 

Sub-goal 2.4:  Continue to monitor effectiveness of completed projects according to grantor requirements.  Monitoring reports submitted: Jewell I,II,II; Kenusky; Elk I,II; Walker. Post project effectiveness small grant 2yr status report submitted for Tweedle LWD small grant.

 

 

GOAL 3:  PROMOTE PUBLIC EDUCATION AND PARTICIPATION IN IMPROVING THE HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY OF THE UPPER NEHALEM WATERSHED, INCLUDING ECOSYSTEM WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.

 

Project objectives:

 

  • Vernonia Public Schools–Continue to support Vernonia Public Schools with the natural resource curriculum, hands-on learning, the forestry education program, the Adopt-A-Stream project, and the Vernonia Rural Education Corps by establishing the Native Plant Nursery onsite, by developing hands-on projects, by securing resources, and by providing field support.  In-progress.  Participated in Natural Resource, Salmon Watch, LeafPack field events.  Supported forestry class in stream temp monitoring project.  Supporting the development of the native plant nursery on school grounds w/student/staff support.  Next project is to assemble the greenhouse and lay the ground work for the native plant nursery.  BLM will be assisting in the establishment of the native plant nursery to productive sustainable levels.  Also, gearing up for summer temperature study. Aaron and I plan to meet soon and work out a game plan to maximize our collective limited time and resources to maintain and increase the effectiveness of the hands-on community based education projects, currently underway.

 

  • UNWC Website–Improve the UNWC’s web presence by  including information on current projects, commissioned reports such as the Limiting Factors Analysis, upcoming special events, meeting agendas and minutes, and links to other neighboring councils and relevant sites. In-progress. On-going.  On-going.  Steve spends time updating website monthly.

 

  • Stakeholder communication–Communicate UNWC activities and issues regularly with stakeholders, particularly the four counties included in the Nehalem watershed, other natural resource agencies, funders, and landowners through public presentations, event notification, and media coverage.  Several articles appeared in the Vernonia Voice covering council projects.  More articles to be developed spring/summer (move to school, pebble implementation, Coho presentation, plus annual meeting announcement – board member recruitment).

 

  • Volunteer projects–Conduct at least two large-scale (20+) volunteer activities.  Planning to plant trees with cub scouts this winter.  Volunteer planting planned for wetland mitigation site at Fleming pond winter/spring 2013.  No volunteer planting events have occurred this spring.  Planning a volunteer tree plant next fall/winter.  This is a good project for volunteers to adopt. 

 

  • Community education—a) Working with other agency partners, conduct at least three public workshops or presentations on watershed and riparian issues each year (e.g., Salmon Festival booth), and b) host one project tour each summer.  Completed: Booth at Salmon Fest and Heritage Days; Presentations: LFA, RBA III/WOU projects/UNWC progress, Beaver, council support.  Tours: OSU – Vernonia/watershed Future: Oregon Coho Conservation Plan.  ODFW Dan Avery will do a presentation on the Coastal Coho recovery plan at June UNWC meeting.  NOWC has a small grant application to help with hosting a tour.  Plan to apply.

 

 

GOAL 4:  BUILD AND SUSTAIN A STRATEGIC, ACCOUNTABLE, EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION.

Sub-goal 4.1:  Strategic direction: Maintain a strategic plan for the organization that identifies the direction the organization will take, and is used to develop annual work plans.

Project objective:

  • Strategic Plan–Prepare a strategic plan for 2012-2014 that will be presented at the Annual Meeting in May 2012.  Done.  Need to revise.  In-progress.  Preparing a PowerPoint presentation with Jo for 2012/13 UNWC Strategic Plan progress report – to be given at annual meeting.

 

  • Steering Committee Annual Plan–Develop a Steering Committee annual work plan that identifies the Steering Committee’s tasks and timelines for Steering Committee business.  Committees formed fall 2012.  July 2013 board meeting will be held at the new office.  At that time we could work on the UNWC SC annual calendar/workplan.

 

  • Staff Work Plan–Develop a staff annual work plan that identifies the staff’s tasks and timelines for achieving the objectives of the Strategic Plan.  In-progress.  Executive Director evaluation – performed 11-12 2012, final meeting between Chair and ED in winter 2013.  Executive Director to do staff evaluations early 2013.  ED has been working closely and effectively with staff on all aspects of the UNWC organization.  Evaluations have yet to be done.

 

Sub-goal 4.2:  Accountability:  Regularly review and evaluate projects and practices for consistency with the strategic plan and fiscal policies.

Project objective:

  • Organizational evaluation—Conduct an annual evaluation process that will compare planned vs. actual organizational expenditures, evaluate the achievement of Strategic Plan goals and objectives, and review our compliance with the by-laws, fiscal policies, and other relevant documents.  In development.  Annual budget created 2012 and revised 2013.  Cash Flow forecast and project budget overview project – updated – 2x a month. ???  Board needs to act on this.  Contracting Policy.

 

  • Steering Committee project oversight—1) Learn the steps of project development and implementation and follow them on one project, 2) encourage individual members to become familiar with a specific UNWC project and occasionally report to the Steering Committee on project status, and 3) review planned vs. actual outcomes, timeline, and cost for each grant upon its completion.  Not being implemented at this time. Lee is advising for Pebble Creek – phase II and co-managing Oak Ranch – Technical Assistance – Implementation Plan.

 

Sub-goal 4.3:  Leadership Development: Create an on-going program of recruitment and training of Steering Committee members and volunteers.

 

Project objective:

  • Nomination Committee—Prior to each Annual Meeting, appoint a committee that a) identifies any specific background or experience needed on the Steering Committee; b) solicits potential new Steering Committee members and/or volunteers, and c) develops the nomination slate for Steering Committee elections.  All members asked to recruit potential new members before 2013 annual meeting.

 

Sub-goal 4.4:  Fund Development—Assure sufficient funding to carry out the UNWC mission and goals.

            Project objective:

  • Fund Development Committee—Appoint and train a Fund Development Committee that a) will analyze long-term funding needs, b) will assist the Director to develop new sources of funding, and c) will conduct at least one fundraising event in 2012 and one in 2013. Not being implemented, yet.  This would be a worthy endeavor for board members to pursue.

 

  • Develop new proposals to support organization and projects

 

Submitted:

  • OWEB TA – Oak Ranch II – Implementation Plan, OWEB – Lousignont – LWD, DEQ 319 2013 – Riparian, Pebble II (OWEB/NFWF).
  • DEQ 319 2014, Beneke Small grant – riparian, NOAA coastal salmon restoration, OWEB TA – Upper Nehalem – Project Development.

In Development:

  • GIS Lidar/hydro: complete Lidar coverage and correct stream layer.  Have discussed the LIDAR project further with OWEB, NCAP and DOGAMI.  Still need it bit more momentum to get started on a grant proposal.  Takes staff resource that we have little of.  Potential volunteer project.
  • Landowner Outreach – Rock Creek: anchor habitat/riparian restoration project development.  Decided to go for a design build application and drop the design/outreach application.  Working on landowner cooperative agreements w/ODFW.  Conducted some field recon for implementation scope.
  • LFA – anchor habitat projects: Habitat/Riparian – design/build.  Met with ODF Astoria District Foresters about the phase I project scope and the acquisition of whole trees for the ODF reaches.  ODF is fully onboard with the project and plan to have the Iron Maiden timber sale contractor do all LWD placement as part of timber sale contract.  Met with Troy and Steve Trask of BioSurveys up at Rock Creek sites. Troy and I walked a few miles of project reaches and then walked the phase II area with Steve. Had an opportunity to meet with  Stimson rep as well.  Stimson is open to developing the project with us.  Saw many steelhead redds and spawning steelhead – Lovely!!!  Troy felt the number we saw in the short distant was a very good sign of a strong winter steelhead run in Rock Creek.
  • Nehalem – floodplain reconnect: design/build.  Possible DSL wetland mitigation project being explored by Landowner and Carex Consulting.
  • Fishhawk Lake – spillway/fish ladder; habitat: design/build.   Possible Oregon Solutions project.
  • Oak Ranch III: salmon passage/habitat/riparian implementation.  NOAA funds applied for.  More grants to write.
  • Pebble III: passage/habitat/riparian.  Working with ODFW and Wey Co on possible phase III.
  • Riparian: Nehalem/Pebble.  Always looking for new cooperators – and possible small grant projects.  Possible future Landowner recruitment TA.
  • Hyporhiec zone: thermal mitigation.  Explored the project possibilities with Freshwater Trust, WOU, UOI and private citizen volunteer.

 

  • Council Support – need to develop a 2013-15 biennial workplan – submit to OWEB for review and approval – in lieu of application – early summer.  Need a plan to work on this together in the coming months.

Future: need to participate in upcoming OWEB listening sessions – regarding long-term investments strategies.  UNWC sent a letter to OWEB board.  Lee and I met with Courtney Shaff of OWEB regarding council support restructuring.

Need to investigate forming a Stewardship Investment Partnership with Tillamook Estuary Partnership (TEP).  TEP Executive Director Lisa Phipps convened a meeting of the north coast watershed councils (LNWC, Nestucca, Tillamook and Necanicum) in TEP realm in order to start the discussion to form a SIP that will benefit from OWEB’s long term investment strategies.