Annual Accomplishments

2016 Accomplishments

2016 ERWP accomplishments.FINAL

Summary of 2015 Accomplishments

(Download the full ERWP 2015 accomplishments)

The Escalante River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) has completed another successful year of riparian restoration and related activities. Below is a summary of the outstanding work as well as challenges that took place in 2015.

General Partnership Accomplishments

Milestones:

  • ERWP receives award. In December the Utah Chapter of The Nature Conservancy presented ERWP’s Coordinating Committee with its annual Conservation Award. The plaque will be on display in the Escalante visitor center.
  • ERWP was nominated for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) Champion of the Year for 2016. This was for the work that ERWP does with AmeriCorps on public lands.

Special Events:

  • ERWP sponsored several public outreach events/presentations in 2015: Hydrology 101, Russian olive research, and a special showing of the movie “Utah’s Uncertain Water Future”.
  • The third annual two-week long Conservation Corps Collaborative Training and graduation ceremony was held in August – the largest training of its kind in the country. Topics include chainsaw safety, first aid, riparian ecology, herbicide use and safety, and backcountry working and living.
  • ERWP hosted artists participating in the Escalante Canyon Art Festival at one of the backcountry restoration sites along the Escalante River. Art from this trip can be found at here.
  • ERWP hosted Rob Walton of Walton Family Foundation (and one of our most significantfunders) in late fall, on a field trip to special places in the watershed.

Coordinating Committee – Strategic Planning:

  • Two planning retreats were held in 2015 (August and December) to continue the process of developing both a long-term funding plan to implement the 10-yearAction Plan, and a marketing/communications plan to develop additional understanding and support for ERWP activities.
  • During the December retreat, the Coordinating Committee reviewed standing committee structure and reorganized to accommodate areas where energy and focus are needed over the next few years. Two standing committees remain: Woody Invasives Control and Restoration, and Science & Conservation Targets. Subcommittees will be created for individual projects as needed.

2014 Summary

  • On June 4th ERWP celebrated its 5th Anniversary.
  • “Cutting a Clear Path” Cover story featured in Nature Conservancy Magazine.

Science and Research

  • 11 groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE) were surveyed; 82% of GDE’s showed signs of disturbance.
  • 15 stream locations were surveyed for bank stability, greenline-to-greenline width, bank cover and bank alteration; found that 80% streams had stream banks in stable condition.
  • Streamflow monitoring illustrated the spatial heterogeneity of flow caused by lithology and topography.
  • Stream water temperature on 12 streams illustrated inter-annual variability of water temperature.

Native Fish and Forestry

  • Two fish stations were monitored; average trout standing crop above averages compared to other Southern Utah trout streams.
  • Continuous temperature monitoring was conducted on 9 streams.
  • 200 acres of Ponderosa pine seedlings were planted in recent wildfire burn areas.

Woody Invasive Control and Restoration Activities

Public Lands:

  • Total acres primary treatment – 378
  • Total acres retreated – 560

Private Lands:

  • Total acres primary treatment – 62
  • Total acres retreated – 461
  • Total acres actively restored – 38

Long-term monitoring

  • 10 long term transects have now been established and are being monitored throughout the watershed.

 

2013 Summary

  • On behalf of BLM State Director Juan Palma, Kristina Waggoner and Amber Hughes were given an award naming them as Youth Program Superstars for their work with Conservation Corps on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Dixie National Forest and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
  • Dr. John Spence received the NPS National Award from Director Jarvis in the category of “Natural Resource Stewardship and Science” for his role in helping to create and to support the ERWP.
  • ERWP was selected by DOI Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar for a second year as one of America’s Great Outdoors Rivers.  A plaque was awarded to the partnership.

Science and Research

  • Water temperature data was collected on 8 waterbodies (7 streams and 1 lake) in the headwaters and discharge data was collected using deployable loggers on two streams.
  • Continuous temperature monitoring at 11 sites in the watershed.
  • Amphibian surveys at 13 sites in the watershed.

Native Fish and Forests

  • Garfield County completed the Hall Creek culvert replacement, resurfacing and drainage improvements along 10 miles of road and improvement of a low water crossing on Hall Creek.
  • The Hall Creek culvert, combined with two other fish passage projects completed in the watershed, reconnected two remnant Colorado River cutthroat trout populations and 8.4 miles of fish-bearing stream.
  • Riparian conifer removal completed on 64 acres along more than 9 miles of stream resulted in reduced risk of catastrophic fire and increased riparian vegetation and ground cover.
  • Qualitative and quantitative fish sampling at 19 sites in the watershed.

Woody Invasive Control and Restoration Activities

Public Lands:

  • Total acres primary treatment – 492
  • Total acres retreated – 790
  • Total acres monitored – 295

Private Lands:

  • Total acres primary treatment – 185
  • Total acres retreated – 435
  • Total acres monitored – 69

Long-term monitoring

  • Six long-term sites (60 transects) have been established and are being monitored throughout the watershed.

 

2012 Summary

  • ERWP selected by DOI Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar as one of America’s Great Outdoors Rivers.

Science and Research

  • Hydrologic monitoring is underway in the Headwaters site and South Hollow restoration area. 5 piezometers installed to monitor water pressure and to better understand groundwater/surface water connections and long-term fluctuations in the water table.

Native Fish and Forests

  • Water Quality Monitoring – The Division of Water Quality has identified 6 monitoring locations within the watershed that will be monitored starting in 2013.
  • Dixie National Forest (DNF) personnel conducted quantitative fish monitoring at eight stations on six streams and qualitative fish distribution sampling on four streams within the Escalante River.
  • Two grade control structures were replaced to provide Aquatic Organism Passage (AOP) in Birch Creek and Water Canyon Creek, reconnecting 7.7 miles of occupied and potential CRCT habitat.
  • Decommissioned approximately 11 miles of road/motorized trails in the Birch Creek watershed.
  • Conducted vegetation treatments on over 90 acres (public and private lands) in Birch Creek watershed.
  • Implemented a culvert replacement on Lake Creek to facilitate Aquatic Organism Passage.  The replacement provided access to 3.4 miles of stream above the culvert.

Woody Invasive Control and Restoration Activities

Public Lands:

  • Total acres primary treatment – 200
  • Total acres retreated – 1000
  • Total acres monitored– 1000

Private Lands:

  • Total acres primary treatment – 151
  • Total acres retreated – 305

Long-term Monitoring

  • Five long-term sites (47 transects) have been established and are being monitored throughout the watershed.