The Russian River Biological Opinion (RRBIOP, NMFS 2008) identifies the operation of Warm Springs Dam as adversely modifying critical habitat in Dry Creek and jeopardizing coho salmon (endangered) and steelhead (threatened). To alleviate these impacts, the RRBIOP compels the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to implement projects along up to six miles of mainstem Dry Creek. Projects will be designed and implemented with the objective of addressing the lack of low water velocity areas with adequate cover and appropriate water depth that limit habitat suitability for juvenile salmonids in general and juvenile coho salmon in particular. Multiple habitat enhancement projects over the 14 mile length will occur in phases during the 15 year time-period covered by the RRBIOP.
A question raised by the RRBIOP is whether Dry Creek habitat enhancements will have the desired benefits. This question is important both for receiving credit toward the total amount of habitat enhancements set forth in the RRBIOP (six miles) and for assessing the relative effectiveness of various habitat enhancements options. For the latter reason, the RRBIOP states that “an adaptive management, monitoring and evaluation plan” will be developed that identifies “project goals, objectives and success criteria”. ESSA Technologies Ltd. (an independent consulting firm from Vancouver Canada) facilitated the collaborative development of an adaptive management plan (AMP) for Dry Creek in an iterative process of meetings, discussions and document revision. This document captures the outcomes of that process.
The goal of the Dry Creek AMP is to serve as a guide for monitoring juvenile coho and steelhead populations and the habitats they live in over multiple years to detect change resulting from habitat enhancement.Keyword Tags: