Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group

   Leading the Process of salmon recovery through

   community involvement and landowner partnership since 1991.

habitat restoration throughout the Lower Columbia River region Lewis River monitoring project


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Monitoring - The Economically Sustainable Approach

LCFEG continues to develop and strengthen its monitoring activities to meet our project objectives. Monitoring is extremely important to ensure continued funding for local salmon recovery efforts because it provides a quantitative benefit to the recovery of listed species and it gauges project success in terms of fish produced. Assuming a project site becomes accessible to fish due to our restoration activities, LCFEG could be required to assign a dollar value to each fish produced over a 10 or 20 year period. For example, if USGS Scientist Craig Robinson holds a live juvenile salmon for pit-tagging on the East Fork Lewis River (Nutrient Study July 2004).1,000 new fish were produced per year due to our project activities, LCFEG could divide the total number of fish produced over 10 years [10,000] by our total project expenditures to produce an economically sustainable value to our efforts.

USGS Nutrient Assessment Project 

LCFEG monitors nutrient levels in local streams with limited aquatic and juvenile salmon productivity. Low production has been identified in the Washougal, Lewis, & Wind River watersheds through intensive water chemistry sampling and juvenile steelhead production surveys. These monitoring efforts test the hypotheses that low nutrients limit primary production (aquatic algae) upon which macroinvertebrates, and subsequently juvenile salmon, depend. Should this hypothesis prove valid, LCFEG plans to add organic carcass analogs, processed from Chinook salmon carcasses and directly consumable by both aquatic and terrestrial species, Click to return to the top of the page to nutrient-deprived streams in hopes of increasing juvenile salmon rearing densities. This monitoring study is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Mesa, PhD Fisheries Research Scientist at USGS Columbia River Research Lab (Cook, WA), and is valued at over $500,000.

Monitoring at Larson Creek

In conjunction with our Larson Creek Fish Passage Project , LCFEG has installed a smolt  trap at the culvert outlet on-site to document new fish production. This follows prior LCFEG on-site restoration work on lands formerly inaccessible to salmon. Ty Fugate, Clark College Fisheries Student and LCFEG Monitoring Intern, has been monitoring this smolt trap and in only two months Click to return to the top of the page(April through May 2005), he has identified and released over 1,000 wild juvenile salmon and steelhead (parr and smolt stages) emigrating from this sites. Click here for our 4/17/05 Columbian cover story photo. (*1.4 Mb, Adobe Acrobat required).

Additional monitoring events occurring throughout the region include:

Watershed Congress (Clark County)  

Held each May at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA, Watershed Congress brings students and community leaders together to evaluate watershed conditions and Workshop Education at Watershed Voyages, Vancouver Water Resources Center (May 2005).stewardship restoration opportunities in local backyards and neighborhoods. The program targets education, discovery, and stewardship as its key goals. LCFEG participates to educate and assist Kids Fishing Game "Identify Your Species" at Watershed Voyages, Vancouver Water Resources Center (May 2005).students in discovering the wonder of their local salmon runs and surrounding ecosystems. In 2005 student participants included over 170 presenters representing 1100 students from the following schools: Amboy Middle School, Canyon Middle School, CASEE Center, Columbia River High School, Covington Middle School, Discovery Middle School, Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School, Lewis and Clark High School, Mountain View High School, Prune Hill Elementary School, Shahala Middle School, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, and York Elementary School.  Watersheds included Burnt Bridge Creek, Cougar Creek, Chelatchie Cree, the Columbia River, East Fork Lewis River, Lacamas Creek, Salmon Creek, Vancouver Click to return to the top of the pageLake, and the Washougal River. For more information on this event, please contact Cory Samia, Tel (360) 696-8478, ext. 8377, Email: cory.samia@ci.vancouver.wa.us.

Watershed Voyages (Cowlitz County)

A partnership with the Cowlitz County Conservation District, Longview Public Schools, WSU Cooperative Extension, and Toutle Lake School, Watershed Voyages  blends the field expertise of fish biologists, forest technicians, and other natural resource professionals with successful teaching strategies to provide youth development opportunities. Given a local stream, mentor, measuring equipment, and a question to guide their exploration, 4th - 12th grade students collect data to document the positive effects that local actions have on ecosystems. The program meets the provisions of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Growth Management Act. Self-contained investigative field studies include macroinvertebrate, water quality testing, and stream Click to return to the top of the pagemorphology activities. For more information, please contact Michelle Graham, Watershed Voyages Spawning Chinook SalmonProject Coordinator, at (360) 414-2902 or check out the website at: www.watershedvoyages.org

Statewide RFEG Monitoring Efforts 

Since 1995 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) have utilized 660,000 volunteer hours--the equivalent of 276 full-time employees-to complete over 1,900 salmon projects including 426 fish passage projects, 400 miles of river and stream restoration, 54 million fish releases and distribution of 412,000 salmon carcasses to enrich local watersheds across Washington State. RFEG monitoring activities ensure that our mission is being met and further communities' understanding of salmon and habitat requirements. RFEGs track baseline trends, issues, and problem areas, assist with grant and project objective compliance, and Click to return to the top of the pagetrack overall program effectiveness through their monitoring activities. Additionally, our RFEG Citizens' Advisory Board participates in the statewide 2005 Governor's Salmon Recovery Office Oversight and Monitoring Forum.

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