Trout Habitat Restoration Program

LOCATION:  Northeast Washington   |   OWNER:  Public Utility District No. 1 of Pend Oreille County
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The Trout Habitat Restoration Program (THRP) encompasses active instream enhancement for 164 miles of small to moderate streams that are tributaries of the Pend Oreille River in Northeast Washington and will span over a 20-year period.

McMillen Jacobs identifies various streams and creeks that do not provide premium habitat conditions for the fish. Upon identification, our staff designs the solution to improve the fish’s habitat. This often includes placement of wood or rock over and within the water which creates a more complex environment, shade to keep the water temperature cool, and pools which protect the fish. McMillen Jacobs’ participation in this program began with the Middle Branch of LeClerc Creek and involved placement of large wood and rock structures over 4 miles of stream during the summer of 2011. In that first year, we assisted the Public Utility District by developing a process to evaluate various streams, provide recommendations, and manage the construction for years to come. In 2012, we implemented this process on additional sites including over 2.9 miles of tributary habitat on the North Fork of Calispell Creek. Many of the locations do not have access roads. Therefore, we use a combination of felling trees and using block and tackle to move the logs into place as per the design. Other challenges include use of heavy equipment and protection of the environment.

Biological Monitoring Program

A biological monitoring program was established by McMillen Jacobs’ staff in order to evaluate success criteria for enhancement measures implemented in the project streams. The metrics included statistical analyses of number of pools, pools/mile, pool: riffle ratio, % undercut banks, % surface fines, % embeddedness, % canopy cover, % stream cover, % stable banks, as well as the number of pieces of various sized Large Woody Debris (LWD) found per mile of stream. Our team designed, installed, and maintained 13 stream gauges within the 8 target watersheds to monitor the environment. These gauges have been operating since 2011, enabling us to develop a long-term hydrological record that includes mean daily flow statistics and flow duration curves for each of the streams. Our habitat assessment was used to target locations where enhancement opportunities existed. In addition to the habitat surveys, a 2-dimensional hydraulic model was utilized at a number of locations to investigate the effects of wood within the stream channel to maximize shear stresses to create new pools.

Project Example of Scope

An example of our scope of work is seen in the design for the Middle Branch of the LeClerc Creek Project. McMillen Jacobs’ role in the pre-construction phase was to assist in obtaining environmental permits that included state and federal in-water working permits, county and state permits such as SEPA, and the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA). It included the design of large wood placement, rock placement, and forded channel crossings for cattle at a total of 97 sites. The overall design included the placement of nearly 400 pieces of wood, 15 rock weirs, and 6 hardened cattle crossings. McMillen Jacobs developed construction strategies and provided the federal and state BMPs that the subcontractor would be required to perform. McMillen Jacobs assisted in the administering of three separate contracts for large wood placement and rock work over the four miles of stream for all 97 construction sites, in which 16 sites involved full dewatering and manipulation of the stream bed and banks. During the construction contract award process, McMillen Jacobs assisted in putting together scoring criteria to determine qualified bids as well as helped score the bids. McMillen Jacobs also assisted in the logistics of pre-staging material due to the construction activity occurring during a tight one month work window. McMillen Jacobs also arranged the scope of the bids in order to allow three contractors to work in such a way as to not constrain each other due to their only being one access road with limited shared access and staging areas.

During construction, McMillen Jacobs’ staff was on site to ensure that the activity minimized environmental impact while efficiently and effectively adding habitat components to the stream. Specific measures to reduce environmental damage were to carefully plan access corridors using slash, mats and other means to reduce damage to the wetland habitat. McMillen Jacobs also guided the use of subcontractor BMP’s to reduce soil disturbance and to mitigate site damage so erosion was minimized in the fall and winter. Post construction monitoring also occurred the next fall and winter to ensure the construction was completed successfully and results of this activity was reported to a technical subcommittee for the restoration program. Revegetation using native species was implemented along the stream banks and any sites impacted by the construction on an as needed basis.

Since 2011, this monitoring, analysis, design, and construction has been repeated each year for a variety of streams and will continue for the next several years.

Delivery Method

The delivery method that was selected for this project was the “design-bid-build” method which follows State Laws regarding public solicitations for bids. Within this system, the lowest qualified bidder was to be chosen to do the construction phase of the project. McMillen Jacobs provided the design (design report + conceptual plan drawings), assisted in permitting, and then created bid documents for construction companies to bid on. Both the design report and drawings were reviewed by a technical committee and then by agency personnel for a state Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit as well as SEPA. McMillen Jacobs also assisted in hosting a mandatory bid meeting to ensure all bidders thoroughly understood what they were bidding on. In addition, McMillen Jacobs created a scoring system for the PUD to qualify bidders and then helped the PUD score the bids to verify the bidders were qualified. McMillen Jacobs also assisted in the pre-staging of wood and rock to confirm the work could be completed during the instream work window. The bidding documents are typically broken into 2-3 different bid packages to ensure the work can be completed during the short in-water work window—often by different contractors. Once bids are accepted, McMillen Jacobs completes field staking of the design prior to the start of construction and provides supervision during the construction.