Resource Management Plan and Project by qey46226

VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 12

More Info
									                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


                  Terrestrial Resource Management Plan

Background and Rationale

Snohomish County PUD (District) and the City of Everett (City) have been
implementing the Wildlife Habitat Management Plan (WHMP) since it was
approved by the FERC in 1989. The WHMP was developed collaboratively by
the District, the City, WDFW, USFWS and the Tulalip Tribes to mitigate for the
impacts of original Project construction and operation through 2060 on wildlife.
The scope and overall adequacy of the WHMP were supported by a Habitat
Evaluation Procedures (HEP) study prepared in 1987-88. The primary focus of
the WHMP is on the maintenance and enhancement of old-growth coniferous
forest, mature riparian forest, wetlands and young riparian forest, as these were
viewed as priority habitats at the time the WHMP was prepared. In as much as
there has been no material change in the configuration or operation of the Project
since 1989, and the priorities for wildlife habitat management in western
Washington have not changed, the existing WHMP continues to provide
adequate mitigation for the effects of Project operation on wildlife, and exceeds
the needed mitigation levels indicated in the HEP for old-growth coniferous and
wetland habitats.

On 1 November 2007 the District and City requested the FERC for a ruling that
the City is not required to be a co-licensee for the Project under a new license.
The FERC declared that the City is not required to be a co-licensee under a new
license on 20 December 2007. As a result, the FERC will no longer have
regulatory authority over the actions of the City relative to a new license for the
Project. All activities necessary to operate and maintain the Project, including
wildlife mitigation, must now be under the control of the District. Since a portion
of the WHMP lands (Lake Chaplain Tract) is on City-owned lands, the future
management of the City lands is more appropriately conducted outside of the
license. The City and the District intend to continue managing the Lake Chaplain
Tract according to the WHMP, but because the tract is not owned by the licensee
(District), the District proposes that the Lake Chaplain Tract be managed under a
separate, off-license agreement. The District will prepare a Terrestrial Resource
Management Plan (TRMP) for the continued management of all WHMP tracts,
except Lake Chaplain, and file it with the FERC. The full and continuing benefits
of the WHMP will be ensured by the combination of the Lake Chaplain Tract
agreement and the TRMP, while the adequacy of the TRMP for the new license
will be supported by the current FERC view of continuing project impacts
(constructed project as baseline).

The following PME measure addresses continued wildlife mitigation on the Lost
Lake, Project Facility Lands, Spada Lake and Williamson Creek tracts.

Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                             Page 1
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


Implementation on the Lake Chaplain Tract will be addressed in the separate
agreement.

Proposed PME

       Summary of Action

       Implement a Terrestrial Resource Management Plan (TRMP) on
       four tracts of land owned and/or controlled by the District (Lost Lake
       Tract, Project Facility Lands Tract, Spada Lake Tract and
       Williamson Creek Tract), based on the Jackson Project Wildlife
       Habitat Management Plan (WHMP) and subsequent supplemental
       plans and annual reports.

       Goal of Action
       Fulfill obligations to mitigate for impacts to wildlife habitat resulting
       from the construction and operation of the Project through 2010,
       and for continued operation of the Project after 2010. The impacts
       of construction and operation under the original license were
       addressed in the WHMP, which was approved by the FERC on 19
       May 1989. The impacts of continued Project operation after 2010
       will be determined using the current FERC view of continuing
       impacts, in which the constructed Project (current condition) is the
       baseline.

       The objectives of the WHMP were:

           • Mitigate for the loss of terrestrial habitat by creating or
               enhancing habitat similar to that which was lost.

           • Provide mitigation lands in the vicinity of the lost habitat
               whenever possible.

           • Show a priority of preference for the following types of
               habitat: (a) old-growth coniferous forest, (b) mature riparian
               forest, (c) wetland, and (d) young riparian forest.

           • Compensate for the Average Annual Habitat Units (AAHU)
               lost to the Project, as estimated by the Habitat Evaluation
               Procedure (HEP) study conducted by the Washington
               Department of Wildlife (currently the Washington
               Department of Fish and Wildlife) in 1982.



Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                                    Page 2
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


       The Spada Lake Tract Supplemental Plan approved by the FERC
       in 2007 included additional goals to provide wildlife habitat and
       meet the needs of the District and the City with respect to water
       quality and recreation. The specific goals for the Spada Lake Tract
       were:

           • Preserve water quality.

           • Preserve and enhance old-growth, riparian and wetland
               habitats.

           • Manage second growth forest primarily for deer, with due
               regard for other species.

           • Consider     aesthetics       (viewshed)   in   planning   and
               implementation.

       Relevance to the Project

       The HEP assessment prepared for the WHMP in 1987 indicated
       that wildlife habitat enhancement and management will be required
       after 2010 to fully compensate for the Average Annual Habitat Units
       lost to construction and operation of the Project during the term of
       the original license. Continuing impacts to wildlife associated with
       operation of the Project under the new license will be considerably
       less than those associated with original construction, but they will
       still warrant mitigation in the form of wildlife habitat enhancement
       and management after 2010.

       Description of Action
       For the term of the new license, the District will implement a
       Terrestrial Resource Management Plan (TRMP) based on the
       Jackson Project Wildlife Habitat Management Plan (WHMP) dated
       May 1988 and approved by the FERC on 19 May 1989, with the
       following modifications:

           A. The Lake Chaplain Tract (441 acres of reservoir and 2,216
              acres of forest and wetland owned by the City) will not be
              included in the TRMP.

           B. The Spada Lake Tract Supplemental Plan dated 31 January
              2007 and approved by the FERC on 21 August 2007 will be
              incorporated into the TRMP. The Supplemental Plan
              addresses the addition of 1,745 acres of forestland above

Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                               Page 3
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


               elevation 1,460 feet along Spada Lake that were not
               included in the HEP analysis of WHMP habitat benefits.

           C. Three parcels totaling 139 acres in Sections 12 and 13 of
              Township 29 North, Range 9 East, acquired by the District
              from the Washington Department of Natural Resources in
              1991, will be added to the Williamson Creek Tract and
              managed to provide wetland and late-seral conifer forest
              habitat. These parcels were not included in the WHMP or
              associated HEP analysis of habitat benefits.

           D. All modifications to the WHMP and Supplemental Plan made
              through the adaptive management process and documented
              in annual reports prepared by the District between 1989 and
              2007 will be incorporated into the TRMP, except those
              associated with the Lake Chaplain Tract.

           E. Even-aged timber harvesting in the Lost Lake Tract and
              Spada Lake Tract will occur only with prior site-specific
              approval of the USFWS and WDFW, and only where it would
              contribute to the maintenance or enhancement of late-seral
              conifer forest habitat. Single tree removal, variable density
              thinning, and patch clearings of up to 0.25 acre may occur
              without site-specific review and approval where determined
              necessary by the District to maintain or enhance late-seral
              conifer forest habitat conditions.




Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                               Page 4
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


                               Noxious Weed Plan

Background and Rationale

Landowners in the State of Washington are required by State law and various
county ordinances to take steps to control the spread of certain specified noxious
weeds on their property. The District, as a landowner, has been managing
noxious weeds on Project lands in compliance with Washington State and
Snohomish County requirements. In addition, the District voluntarily manages
several other noxious weed species on Project lands. This PME will incorporate
those management activities into the FERC license.

Proposed PME

       Summary of Action
       Formalize the ongoing Project weed management methods into a
       Jackson Project Noxious Weed Plan.

       Goal of Action
       The goal of the Noxious Weed Plan is to formalize and continue
       implementation of methods to control and contain the spread of
       Washington State Class A, Washington State Class B Designate
       and Snohomish County Selected noxious weeds within the Jackson
       Project boundary. The Plan will also address the management of
       other selected weed species identified by the District and the
       adjacent land manager, U.S. Forest Service.

       Relevance to the Project
       Project-related activities, particularly those involving ground and
       habitat disturbance, have the potential to contribute to the
       occurrence and spread of noxious weeds. The District currently
       manages Washington State Class A, Washington State Class B
       Designate and Snohomish County Selected noxious weeds on
       Project lands in accordance with state and county laws and
       regulations. The District also manages other weed species to
       reduce their potential to spread. The District adopted an Integrated
       Pest Management approach to vegetation management in 1986;
       this approach emphasizes the use of manual and mechanical
       methods and limits the use of herbicides to protect water quality
       and other environmental resources. Surveys conducted in 2007
       provided additional information on the number and distribution of
       noxious weed species on Project lands and National Forest System
Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                               Page 5
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


       lands downstream of Culmback Dam. Formalization of ongoing
       weed management methods for the Project, incorporation of
       methods for new species and sites detected in 2007, and provision
       for regular update of weed lists are warranted to provide continued
       compliance with State and County requirements and to reduce the
       potential for Project-related contributions to the spread of these
       species.

       The potential for new Project-related activities on non-Project lands
       to affect the occurrence and spread of noxious weeds will be
       evaluated on a case-by-case basis through the existing regulatory
       framework of the respective landowner or land manager.

       Description of Action
       The District will develop a Noxious Weed Plan for the Jackson
       Project that includes the following elements, and submit the plan
       with the application for license:

           A. A list of Washington State Class A, Washington State Class
              B Designate, Snohomish County Selected noxious weeds,
              and other noxious weed species identified for management
              at the Project (collectively referred to as target weed
              species), updated annually to reflect changes in State and
              County lists.

           B. A summary of target weed species occurring within the
              Project boundary based on ongoing weed management work
              and the 2007 Noxious Weed Inventory.

           C. A summary of ongoing weed management activities within
              the Project boundary.

           D. Treatment options and recommendations for established and
              new infestations of target weed species including
              management goals, measurable objectives, and priorities for
              treatment.

           E. Prevention strategies (e.g., best management practices for
              ground disturbing work, revegetation methods, and
              education information for Project employees).

           F. Monitoring and implementation schedules.

           G. Annual updates with Snohomish County Noxious Weed
              Control Board and U.S. Forest Service, including changes
Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                                Page 6
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


               to the list of target weed species and a summary of weed
               management actions taken during previous year

           H. A review of the plan every five years, in consultation with the
              Snohomish County Noxious Weed Control Board, U.S.
              Forest Service, and other stakeholders, addressing progress
              toward management objectives, modifications of treatment
              methods and population/species priority for treatment, and
              the      list      of        target       weed        species.




Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                                 Page 7
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


               Marbled Murrelet Habitat Protection Plan

Background and Rationale

Recent surveys by the District and others have documented the presence of
marbled murrelets (a federally-listed threatened species) in the Sultan Basin, and
have resulted in the designation of forest in and near the Project boundary as
“occupied” by nesting marbled murrelets. Three general types of Project-related
activities have the potential to impact nesting marbled murrelets and/or their
habitat in the basin:

    1. The felling of road-side danger trees in occupied habitat or suitable
       habitat that has not been surveyed for marbled murrelets along Project
       roads,
    2. The creation of snags and forest canopy gaps (wildlife habitat
       enhancement) in occupied habitat or suitable habitat that has not been
       surveyed for marbled murrelets, and
    3. The creation of new recreation trails and associated facilities in occupied
       habitat or suitable habitat that has not been surveyed for marbled
       murrelets.

Currently, approval to conduct the first two types of activities is obtained by the
District through the Forest Practices Approval (FPA) process administered by
the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Since the WDNR
has no incidental take authorization for marbled murrelets, the FPA process is
one of take avoidance. The creation of a new recreation trail and associated
facilities on non-federal lands could also be covered through the FPA process,
while construction on National Forest System lands would be addressed through
a Special Use Permit and associated federal review of potential impacts to
marbled murrelets and other listed species.

Covering all three types of Project-related activities through a PME would have
two advantages. First, it would provide clear and thorough guidance to Project
personnel for avoiding or minimizing impacts to marbled murrelets during the
performance of these activities. Second, it would allow for potential incidental
take that would not otherwise be allowed through the FPA process. The
potential for incidental take is extremely low under all three types of activities, so
allowance for such potential would provide increased operational flexibility with
very little risk to the species.

By addressing the three types of activities in a PME, the activities can be covered
in the USFWS Section 7 Biological Opinion for the Project relicense, and PME
measures to avoid or minimize impacts can become license requirements. The

Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                                Page 8
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


incidental take statement contained within the Section 7 Biological Opinion can
also be used to expedite the FPA processes for road maintenance and snag/gap
creation, because provisions in the Washington Forest Practices Rules allow for
substitution of a federal incidental take statement for FPA review of potential
impacts to listed wildlife species.

Proposed PME

       Summary of Action
       Identify and protect potential marbled murrelet nest trees during the
       removal of roadside danger trees, creation of snags and forest
       canopy gaps, and creation of new recreation trails and associated
       facilities.

       Goal of Action
       The goal of the Marbled Murrelet Habitat Protection Plan is to
       minimize potential impacts to nesting marbled murrelets and
       suitable marbled murrelet nesting habitat during routine road
       maintenance on Project lands, implementation of wildlife habitat
       mitigation measures related to snags and forest canopy gaps, and
       creation of new recreation trails and associated facilities.

       Relevance to the Project
       Roadside Danger Trees: An estimated three miles of Project
       roads pass through or along forest that is occupied by marbled
       murrelets or is contiguous with habitat occupied by marbled
       murrelets. This number of road miles could increase during the
       term of the new license as forests in and near the Project boundary
       mature and additional acres become suitable for marbled murrelet
       nesting, or if the District assumes management responsibility for
       additional miles of existing WDNR roads along the south shore of
       Spada Lake. Among the routine maintenance activities conducted
       by the District is removal of roadside danger trees (trees capable of
       falling onto and blocking the road and/or striking passing vehicles).
       The removal of roadside danger trees from forest that is occupied
       or could be occupied by marbled murrelets has the potential to
       directly or indirectly impact nesting success. The felling of trees in
       which marbled murrelets are actively nesting could lead to the
       injury or death of young birds. The felling of nest trees outside the
       nesting season could reduce the availability of suitable nest sites in
       successive seasons. The felling of other dominant or codominant
       overstory trees in forest surrounding occupied nesting habitat could

Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                                 Page 9
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


       expose nest trees to increased wind damage and make individual
       nests more vulnerable to disturbance and predation.

       Snags and Forest Canopy Gaps: The Jackson Project Wildlife
       Habitat Management Plan (WHMP) approved by the FERC in 1989
       requires the District to enhance forest habitat for late-seral wildlife
       species by creating snags and small openings in the forest. It is
       anticipated these activities would continue, and possibly increase,
       under the Terrestrial Resource Management Plan (TRMP). Both
       activities are currently reviewed and permitted through the FPA
       process, which requires the avoidance of impacts to marbled
       murrelets when operating in occupied habitat. Possible revisions
       during development of the TRMP could result in increases in the
       size of trees that are topped to create snags, and increases in the
       size and frequency of gaps. These changes could increase the
       potential for damaging marbled murrelet nest trees, make marbled
       murrelet nest trees more vulnerable to wind, make marbled
       murrelet nests more vulnerable to predators, and disturb or disrupt
       actively nesting marbled murrelets.

       New Recreation Trails and Associated Facilities: At the request
       of stakeholders, the District is considering the creation of a new foot
       trail and associated trailhead facilities (picnic sites, restrooms and
       parking) to improve public access to the Sultan River and to the
       north side of Spada Lake. The trail and associated facilities could
       be in occupied marbled murrelet habitat. If creation of the trail
       and/or associated facilities requires the felling of large trees, such
       felling could eliminate existing marbled murrelet nest trees, reduce
       the number of potential future nest trees, make remaining trees
       more vulnerable to wind damage and predation, and disrupt
       actively nesting marbled murrelets. Increased human activity along
       the trail or at the trailhead/picnic area could disrupt actively nesting
       marbled murrelets or make them more vulnerable to predation.
       .Description of Action
       General: The District will prepare and maintain maps of the Project
       lands and adjacent areas showing suitable marbled murrelet
       habitat, occupied marbled murrelet habitat, and other forest within
       300 feet of suitable and occupied marbled murrelet habitat. For
       mapping purposes, suitable and occupied marbled murrelet
       habitats will be defined according to Washington Forest Practices
       Rules (WAC 222-16-010). At intervals of 10 years or less, the
       District will update the maps to reflect current habitat conditions.
       The District may conduct surveys for nesting marbled murrelets in
       all suitable habitat that is not known to be occupied and has not
Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                               Page 10
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


       been surveyed for 10 or more years. If the District chooses not to
       survey suitable habitat, such habitat would be considered occupied
       for purposes of this PME. Hereinafter, in this PME, all references to
       occupied habitat includes suitable habitat that has not been
       surveyed for 10 or more years. Surveys will be conducted
       according to the current protocol of the Pacific Seabird Group, or
       another protocol endorsed by the USFWS and WDFW.

       Roadside Danger Trees In Or Within 300 Feet of Occupied
       Habitat: Prior to felling of roadside danger trees in occupied
       marbled murrelet habitat or other forest within 300 feet of occupied
       habitat, District biologists will evaluate each tree proposed for
       felling. Roadside trees in or within 300 feet of occupied habitat that
       contain marbled murrelet nesting platforms (as defined in WAC
       222-16-010) will not be felled unless they pose an imminent threat
       to the operation of the Project or safe use of a Project road, and
       only after allowing the USFWS and WDFW 14 days to review and
       comment on the proposed felling. To initiate USFWS and WDFW
       review, the District will provide both parties with current maps of
       marbled murrelet habitat on the Project lands showing the locations
       of the trees proposed for felling, and photos of the trees. A
       roadside danger tree will be considered an imminent threat if it is
       leaning toward a road at an angle of greater than 20 degrees from
       vertical, is up-slope from a road and being undercut by erosion, or
       is otherwise in a condition that would lead a professional forester or
       other similarly qualified person to conclude it has a reasonable
       potential to fall on or across the road without warning.

       Roadside danger trees in or within 300 feet of occupied habitat that
       do not contain marbled murrelet nesting platforms, as determined
       by a District biologist, may not be felled during the critical marbled
       murrelet nesting season (critical nesting season is defined as 1
       April through 31 August) unless they pose an imminent threat to the
       operation of the Project or safe use of a Project road, as defined
       above. Roadside danger trees that do not contain marbled
       murrelet nesting platforms, as determined by a District biologist,
       may be felled outside the critical marbled murrelet nesting season
       regardless of their imminent threat. Review by and reporting to the
       USFWS and WDFW are not required for roadside danger trees that
       do not contain marbled murrelet nesting platforms.

       Snags and Forest Canopy Gaps: The following restrictions will
       apply to snag creation and forest canopy gap creation in or within
       300 feet of occupied marbled murrelet habitat:

Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                             Page 11
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08
                Jackson Hydroelectric Project (FERC No. 2157)
               Proposed PME Measures for Terrestrial Resources


           •   No live coniferous trees with marbled murrelet nesting
               platforms (as defined in WAC 222-16-010), or trees directly
               adjacent to coniferous trees with platforms, will be modified
               to create snags or felled to create gaps.
           •   No live coniferous trees with a diameter at breast height
               (DBH) of 32 inches or greater, or trees directly adjacent to
               coniferous trees with a DBH of 32 inches or greater, will be
               modified to create snags or felled to create gaps.
           •   No snags or gaps will be created during the critical marbled
               murrelet nesting season (1 April through 31 August).


       New Recreation Trails and Associated Facilities: The following
       conditions will apply to new recreation trails and associated
       facilities created in or within 300 feet of occupied marbled murrelet
       habitat:
           •   Trails and associated facilities will be laid out to minimize the
               number of coniferous trees with marbled murrelet nesting
               platforms within 100 feet, while giving due consideration to
               other potential environmental and safety considerations.
           •   No live coniferous trees with marbled murrelet nesting
               platforms, or trees directly adjacent to coniferous trees with
               platforms, will be felled to create a new recreation trail or
               associated facilities, unless doing so is necessary to make
               the trail or associated safe and/or avoid impacting slope
               stability, surface erosion or water quality. If felling of such
               trees in necessary they will be felled outside the critical
               marbled murrelet nesting season (1 April through 31
               August).
           •   Wildlife-resistant containers will be provided for human
               refuse during trail and associated facility construction and
               use, and emptied as needed to prevent wildlife access to
               refuse. Signs will be posted alerting users of the need to
               contain all refuse.




Jackson Project – FERC No. 2157                                                Page 12
Proposed Terrestrial PM&Es, 9/15/08

								
To top