Expenditure Plan For the Upper Sacramento River Account

Cantara Trustee Council, November 19, 1996

Introduction

The following expenditure plan has been prepared pursuant to Paragraph IV, Subsection G. (2) of the Cantara Settlement Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This portion of the MOA specifies that:

"(g) No later than the first anniversary of the date of the first meeting of the Trustee Council, the Council shall set forth a plan for the expenditure of the funds that it administers or will administer. This plan may be amended or supplemented by a vote of the Council. The plan shall be made available for public review and comment prior to being made final by the Trustee Council. The plan shall consider the projects identified in Attachment A, in the section entitled Ď2. Trustee Councilí."

In developing this plan for the expenditures from the Upper Sacramento River Account, the Councilís objective is to adopt a balanced, cost-effective restoration program that maximizes benefits to natural resource types that were injured by the Cantara Spill. Over the next five years, the Council will fund projects to protect, restore and enhance natural resources, replace resource values (including human use values) that have been lost, and encourage public understanding and participation in the restoration and recovery process.

The Council has a variety of procurement methods available to implement its restoration program and insure the cost-effective use of settlement funds. These include the following:

Expenditure Projections

Annual expenditure projections have been developed by the Trustee Council and are displayed in Figure 1. The Councilís allocation of funds for the 1996 grant cycle served as a starting point. Future projections represent the Councilís expected program emphasis and direction over the life of the restoration program. These projections are based on the current recovery status of natural resources, restoration actions already undertaken by the Department of Fish and Game, and expected recovery rates based on post-spill monitoring.

Expenditure projections are made for the four projects categories identifies in the trustee Councilís grant program (1) Restoration, Rehabilitation and Enhancement, (2) habitat Acquisition and Resource Protection, (3) Study and Research, and (4) Public Information and Education (Table 1). These categories have been selected because they represent natural groupings and cover the full range of activities allowable under the MOA. This does not imply that all of the Councilís funds will be allocated through the grant program. The Council will identify the most effective mechanisms for implementing individual components of its restoration program. Table 2 shows the total expenditures for each project category that will result from the recommended funding levels.

It is important to note that natural resource restoration is a dynamic process. Mid-course corrections are frequently required as information on restoration performance and/or natural recovery patterns becomes available. This expenditure plan should therefore be viewed as a planning document as opposed to a rigid schedule. The following projections are very rough estimates and the Council, at its discretion, may choose to spend above or below these amounts in any project category. To the greatest extent possible, the Council will remain flexible in its approach in order to adaptively manage natural resource recovery.

Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Enhancement

Restoration, rehabilitation, and enhancement of natural resource types that were injured by the spill are a major area of emphasis in the Councilís program. Approximately 25% of the first annual installment went to restoration of aquatic and riparian resources both on the upper Sacramento River and at off-site locations. Expenditures in this program category are projected to increase to approximately 40% of the total program cost by the year 2000. Following this scenario, $4,897,500 would be spent on restoration and enhancement over the life of the program. This represents approximately 35.8% of the funds administered by the Trustee Council.

As natural recovery progresses, it is anticipated that the need for on-site interventions will decrease. However, restoration or enhancement of natural resources at off-site locations will become increasingly important over the life of the Councilís program. Off-site restoration is a primary means of compensating for the long-term loss of habitat values and ecosystem services that will accrue during the time it takes injured resources to recover to pre-spill conditions.

Three of the project types identified in Attachment A of the MOA fall within this program category:

Erosion control projects within the watershed may be useful in improving water quality in the Upper Sacramento River and its tributaries. However, water quality data are needed to determine the extent and source of sediment inflows. At this time, sediment deposition does not appear to be a significant problem in the main river. The Council has funded the development of a water quality monitoring and management program by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to identify water quality issues within the watershed. Erosion control efforts will be more cost effective if they can be deferred until monitoring data are available to identify the most important sediment sources for correction.

Increasing access to spawning habitat in tributaries to the river may accelerate the recovery of the wild trout population through increasing reproductive success of fish in the upper Sacramento River. However, recovery monitoring in 1994 and 1995 suggests that there is ample spawning habitat in the unblocked tributaries and the main river to sustain the fishery at its maximum potential in the future. Fish passage should be restored, but only if cost-effective, to tributaries such as Little Castle, Shotgun, Boulder, Mears, Root, Flume, and Mosquito creeks which have total, partial, or potential barriers caused by construction of Interstate 5. Removal of natural barriers in the tributaries must be avoided to maintain the genetic integrity of populations of aquatic species above these barriers.

Opportunities exist for the restoration or enhancement of aquatic and riparian habitat along tributaries and above Lake Siskiyou. The South Fork Sacramento River and Castle Creek have both suffered habitat degradation from mining, road building and logging in the upper watershed areas. The Council funded a project to improve fish habitat along a portion of the South Fork Sacramento River in 1996. Riparian restoration may also be possible in these locations. However, both stream channels have been destabilized to the extent that a feasibility study should be conducted prior to any large-scale restoration effort.

Habitat Acquisition and Resource Protection

Habitat acquisition and resource protection accounted for approximately 22% of the first annual installment of settlement funds. Much of this first yearís expenditure was earmarked for the development of a water quality monitoring and pollution control program within the watershed. Spending in this program category is expected to increase annually to approximately 50% of the last annual installment in the year 2000. Using this projection, $5,718,500 would be spent on habitat acquisition and resource protection over the life of the program. This represents approximately 41.8% of the funds administered by the Trustee Council.

Four of the seven projects identified in Attachment A of MOA fall within this program category:

Acquisition of stream environment zones along the main river and tributaries may provide protection for the river ecosystem. However, the river may be subject to adverse impacts from activities occurring in the watershed beyond these areas. For this reason, a broader watershed based approach should be developed for acquisition and resource protection planning.

The Council is currently developing a Conceptual Acquisition Plan for the upper Sacramento River watershed. This plan will address factors such as distribution of habitat types, land ownership patterns, public access and recreational use, sensitive species, wildlife movement corridors, and sources of recruitment for the recovery of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife species. The plan will also consider alternative mechanisms to provide resource protection, including fee title acquisition, purchase of conservation easements or other interests in real property, and other cooperative agreements with public and private sectors. A gap analysis of the watershed using Geographic Information System technology was funded by the Council in 1996 and should provide much of the baseline information needed for the Conceptual Acquisition Plan.

Acquisition of habitat or water rights on other streams may be used to protect equivalent resource types or provide replacement habitats at off-site locations. These off-site actions will be evaluated as a second tier in the Conceptual Acquisition Plan. General criteria outlined in the current grant application package will be used to prioritize acquisition planning outside the upper Sacramento River watershed. In the absence of outstanding resource or recreational values, off-site acquisitions will be given secondary priority to projects located within the watershed of the upper Sacramento River.

Study and Research

Research will be necessary to support some components of the Councilís restoration program. Expenditures in this category will occur primarily during the early years of the program. Recovery monitoring will be emphasized during this period to provide information on restoration needs. Research accounted for approximately 21% of the first annual installment in 1996. In the later years of the program, research emphasis will shift to studies that will support the long-term management of the river and its resources. As recovery progresses, research funding for research is the lowest of the four program categories. This is consistent with the intent of the MOA, which states that "Östudy and research projects shall be the Councilís lowest priority for fundingÖ" Although general resource recovery monitoring will decline over time, individual project monitoring will continue as needed to address overall project performance. Funding for performance monitoring will be included as a component of individual restoration projects, not as study and research.

Public Information and Education

Public information and education are important components of the Trustee Councilís restoration program. Increasing the publicís understanding and appreciation of the natural values of the river ecosystem are critical to achieving the Councilís restoration and resource protection goals. Expenditures in this category will include the development and support of school curricula based on the Cantara Spill, ecosystem recovery and human restoration efforts. These curricula may be integrated with existing or new watershed education programs to give children a hands on experience with the river environment.

Natural resource interpretation for residents of the watershed and all those who use or enjoy the riverís resources will also be supported by the Council. The Councilís objective in funding public information and education projects is to develop and encourage a stewardship ethic for natural resource types that were injured by the spill.

Approximately 15% of the Councilís first annual installment were used to fund Public Information and Education projects in Dunsmuir and surrounding areas in Siskiyou County. Funding in this category will remain relatively stable over the life of the program, dropping to approximately 5% in the final year. Under current expenditure projections, a total of $1,745,000 will be used to fund public information and education programs by the year 2000. This represents about 12.7% of the funds administered by the Trustee Council.

Administrative and Program Support Costs

The Council will seek to minimize administrative and staff support costs associated with its restoration program. To date, these costs have been contributed by the Department and other trustee agencies. However, as funding for the Departmentís Cantara Program begins to decline in fiscal year 1997/98, additional funds will be needed to maintain the current level of staff support. It is estimated that administrative cost will run around 10-12% of the total program cost from 1997/98 through the year 2000.

 

Table 1. Projected expenditures from the Upper Sacramento River Account, expressed as percentages of total annual installment amounts.

Project Category

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

Restoration and Enhancement

25

35

35

35

40

Habitat Acquisition and Protection

22

35

40

45

50

Study and Research

21

15

10

5

5

Public Information and Education

15

15

15

15

5

Totals:

83

100

100

100

100

 

Table 2. Total Trustee Council expenditures by project category.

Project Category

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

Total Spent

Restoration and Enhancement

$450,000

$630,000

$1,155,000

$1,242,000

$1,420,000

$4,897,500

Habitat Acquisition and Protection

$396,000

$630,000

$1,320,000

$1,597,500

$1,775,000

$5,718,500

Study and Research

$378,000

$270,000

$330,000

$177,500

$177,500

$1,333,000

Public Information and Education

$270,000

$270,000

$495,000

$532,500

$177,500

$1,745,000

Totals:

$1,494,000

$1,800,000

$3,300,000

$3,550,000

$3,550,000

$13,694,000

 

 

Figure 1. Projected annual expenditures by program category.