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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Wetlands of the Pacific Southwest

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2006 Wetlands Development Grants Awards Projects

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California Coastal Conservancy – Parsons Slough Wetland Restoration Plan.

This funding will help address the serious loss of tidal wetlands in this estuary. Elkhorn Slough, containing California's second largest tract of salt marsh, is currently facing unprecedented rates of tidal marsh loss and tidal creek, mudflat, and channel habitat degradation. Fifty percent of the tidal salt marsh in Elkhorn Slough has been lost in the past 70 years and will continue in the near future if no management actions are taken. The collaborative effort that coastal decision-makers, resource managers, scientists, engineers, and stakeholders have been working on to conserve, enhance, and restore tidal wetlands in the Elkhorn Slough watershed, initiated with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to DFG, has made great strides in the past few years. The ability to make sound management decisions about different restoration alternatives has been limited by a lack of scientific-based information. This project would provide the resources to obtain additional information for a sound restoration plan that can guide restoration efforts in the greater Elkhorn Slough watershed.

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San Carlos Apache Tribe – Strengthening the Assessment and Protection of Tribal Wetlands.

The proposed wetland project is designed to meet three national priorities (strengthened wetland program, developed comprehensive wetland monitoring and assessment, and refined protection of vulnerable wetlands) and a regional tribal priority (partnerships with others to protect vulnerable wetlands). The proposed wetland project will target the San Carlos River Watershed as a demonstration of the San Carlos Apache Tribe's commitment to preserving, increasing acreage, and protecting our valuable wetland resources. The San Carlos River watershed contains the San Carlos River, the Blue River, Talkalai Lake, Cassadore Springs, Warm Springs, extensive riparian and lacustrine wetlands, the town of San Carlos, and the greatest population of Tribal residents. Seven steps are proposed to meet the national strategic goal and associated objectives of increasing wetlands and ensuring protection of these valuable resources.

Robinson Rancheria – Robinson Rancheria Wetland Program Development Project.

The Robinson Rancheria Comprehensive Wetland Program Development Project objectives will be to increase understanding of the role of wetland areas to protect surface and groundwater quality, protect current wetlands from degradation and increase the amount of functioning wetlands on the Reservation. To achieve these goals, the Environmental Department will improve assessment of wetlands within the Rancheria, improve methods of wetland restoration including improved use of culturally significant plants, assess current nonpoint pollution prevention activities to protect wetlands, and integrate wetland protection and expansion activities with current and proposed Tribal Environmental programs. The outcome will be improved and expanded wetlands, improved methods of wetland maintenance, more dependable sources of currently scarce culturally significant plants, better integration of wetland use and protection in Rancheria land planning and other Tribal and non-Tribal programs and improved public awareness of wetlands.

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CNMI-DEQ – Development of Biological Criteria for the Nearshore Marine Ecosystems of the CNMI.

The CNMI will enhance coral reef monitoring and biocriteria development efforts through: 1) completing regional characterizations of the different coral reef and lagoon habitats that exist; 2) gaining a spatial perspective of these habitats using satellite imagery and remote sensing; 3) testing the applicability of our newly created bio-criteria for use in non-monitoring locations; 4) comparing and contrasting different biocriteria, and 5) establishing biological criteria language in CNMI's water quality standards. This work would compliment ongoing, interagency coral monitoring efforts funded by NOAA and EPA and disseminate information through the submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe – Wetland Monitoring, Assessment, and Tracking within the Exterior Boundaries of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservations.

Research and development of the monitoring, assessment, and tracking system and writing a Quality Assurance Project Plan will be done before any sampling is done through this project. The monitoring and assessment system will collect a variety of data sets. Water quality readings and samples will be taken and Proper Functioning Condition and a vegetation surveys done on at least 90% of the wetlands within the reservation. All samples taken will be processed and analyzed by the PLPT. As part of the tracking system, permanent photo-points will be selected for and GPS coordinates of wetland area will be taken at each site monitored. The GPS coordinates will be used to make polygons to be compared to past PLPT wetland inventory data to record the net gain or loss of wetland acreage.

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University of Hawaii – Restored and Created Wetlands of the Hawaiian Islands.

The project will monitor and assess water quality and habitat functions of restored (RW), created (CW), and natural wetlands (NWs) of the Hawaiian Islands. This will involve sampling the water quality, soils, vegetation, and fish communities of a random selection of RW, CW, and NW on Hawaii's, Kauai's, Maui, Molokai's, and O'ahu in 2007. Data collected from NWs will help us form biocriteria that will be used to assess functionality of RWs and CWs. We will also establish a volunteer network to sample seasonal variability in water quality and vegetation at permanent sampling points within a subset of these wetlands from 2007-2009.

Nevada Department of Natural Resources – Nevada Wetland Information System & GIS Program and Springs Habitat Conservation Plan Development.

The project will put the Nevada Wetland Information System and GIS (NvWETIS) into full-scale operation, establish a wetland data clearinghouse/data delivery procedure, and support preparation of a habitat conservation plan for priority spring wetlands identified in the Nevada Wetland Priority Conservation Plan (NvWP) and Nevada Natural Heritage Program 2006 Scorecard of Highest Priority Conservation Sites. Project activities will be: inventory priority wetland sites; archive site characterization data in (NvWETIS); develop and implement a process to fulfill database requests from public and private entities; and, provide data and analyses for development of a habitat conservation plan for isolated spring wetlands with vulnerable and sensitive biological resources.

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Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe – Regional IX Wetland Program Development.

The Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe (FPST) is located within the Carson Desert Watershed in west central Nevada and encompasses 8,120 acres of which 600 acres is prime wetlands. These wetlands enhance the area's water quality and provide valuable habitat for hundreds of plant, aquatic and wildlife species and have been utilized historically by tribal membership for cultural and sustenance practices. The FPST faces several environmental challenges including non-point source pollution, riparian vegetation loss and extensive tribal cattle grazing practices. The FPST will address concerns quantitatively and qualitatively in two stages by fulfilling wetland characterization research and assessment needs, promoting coordination and partnerships with local affected partners, building valuable tribal infrastructure, providing a platform for community education and outreach and ultimately developing a holistic tribal strategy reflecting preservation and restoration objectives.

CA Department of Water Resources – Study of the Roughness Characteristics of Native Plant Species in CA Floodplain Wetlands.

Floodways in California have been managed to limit vegetation. This has led to a loss of seasonal wetlands and riparian habitat and has increased erosion. To restore vegetation to floodways requires that channel conveyance capacity not be diminished by the vegetation. This in turn requires knowledge of the hydraulic roughness of the plant communities. This project proposes to determine hydraulic roughness for key native plants so that floodways can be restored to native plant communities and, thereby, reduce pollution and increase wetlands.

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Los Coyotes Indians – Joint Tribal Wetlands Program: Los Coyotes Band of Mission Indians and La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians.

The Los Coyotes Indian Reservation and the La Jolla Band of LuiseƱo Indians jointly will initiate a watershed-based dual tribal Wetlands Program for the Upper San Luis Rey River, which will build on existing capacity for environmental management and study in the La Jolla Tribal Water and Environmental Resources Office. This program will characterize the wetlands of Los Coyotes Indian Reservation and study nutrient flow in the upper San Luis Rey River that may be impairing wetlands function.

University of Arizona – Characterization of Microclimate and Vegetation Structure within the Riparian Areas along Urbanized and Non-urbanized Ephemeral Streams.

The ecological functions of riparian areas along ephemeral streams are not well known. In Arizona these functions might be very important since many perennial and intermittent streams are becoming ephemeral stream because of human alterations. Comparisons of microclimatic and vegetative data from riparian areas along urban ephemeral streams and nonurban ephemeral streams will provide a better idea of what the ecological functions of these riparian areas are and how urbanization impacts them.

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