The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) received funding from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to provide monitoring and evaluation on the effectiveness of stream restoration efforts by Reclamation in the Methow River watershed. This monitoring and evaluation program is designed to partially fulfill Reclamation’s part of the 2008 Biological Opinion for the Federal Columbia River Power System that includes a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) to protect listed salmon and steelhead across their life cycle. The target species in the Methow River for the restoration effort include Upper Columbia River (UCR) spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), UCR steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), which are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Since 2004, the USGS has completed two projects of monitoring and evaluation in the Methow River watershed. The first project focused on the evaluation of barrier removal and steelhead recolonization in Beaver Creek with Libby and Gold Creeks acting as controls. The majority of this work was completed by 2008, although some monitoring continued through 2012.
The second project (2008–2012) evaluated the use and productivity of the middle Methow River reach (rkm 65–80) before the onset of multiple off-channel restoration projects planned by the Reclamation and Yakama Nation. The upper Methow River (upstream of rkm 80) and Chewuch River serve as reference reaches and the Methow River downstream of the Twisp River (downstream of rkm 65) serves as a control reach. Restoration of the M2 reach was initiated in 2012 and will be followed by a multi-year, intensive post-evaluation period.
This report is comprised of three chapters covering different aspects of the work completed by the USGS. The first chapter is a review of data collection that documents the methods used and summarizes the work done by the USGS from 2008 through 2012. This data summary was designed to show some initial analysis and to disseminate summary information that could potentially be used in ongoing modeling efforts by USGS, Reclamation, and University of Idaho. The second chapter documents the database of fish and habitat data collected by USGS from 2004 through 2012 and compares USGS habitat protocols to the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP) protocol. The third chapter is a survival analysis of fish moving through Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag interrogation systems in the Methow and Columbia Rivers. It examines the effects of adding PIT tags and/or PIT tag interrogation systems on survival estimates of juvenile steelhead and Chinook salmon.