BREN Receives BOR WaterSmart Grant!

We have great news for the Boise River – the Boise River Enhancement Network has been awarded $100,000 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to implement Phase II of the WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program! The grant was submitted and supported with the following partners: Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited, City of Boise, The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, Intermountain Bird Observatory, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise Valley Fly Fishers, and the Ada County Highway District.

Project funds will be used to restore the natural function of the last 440 feet of Cottonwood Creek where it enters the Boise River in Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise. Cottonwood Creek is currently buried in a flume starting where it enters the city, and ending in a concrete and stone outlet that dumps into the Boise River. Once ‘daylighted,’ Cottonwood Creek will provide an array of ecological, educational and aesthetic benefits. The Boise River Enhancement Plan recommends daylighting tributaries to improve habitat complexity and geomorphic function of the river.











(Cottonwood Creek Daylighting Initial Design)

The project will provide new instream fish habitat to support spawning, rearing, and over-wintering, all of which are limiting to the Boise River fishery. Native whitefish, native sculpin, and naturally spawning rainbow and brown trout will benefit from this project. Completion of this project will also create 0.35 acres of riparian and wetland habitat providing new habitat for native wildlife and improving water quality through the capture, filter and removal of pollutants.

Daylighting Cottonwood Creek has been in the master plan for the park as well as in the City of Boise’s master plan for more than 15 years. Funds will be used in the first year to update and revise the 2003 project plan developed by the Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited and in the second year to construct the channel and review performance. The estimated completion date is September 30, 2019.

The project includes a robust engagement, education and outreach component with many opportunities for volunteers to participate (see timeline below). Stay tuned!

Activities and milestones for the Cottonwood Creek Daylighting project.

Date(s) Activity
Oct – Dec 2017 1)      Formalize partnerships with cooperators: City of Boise (both Boise Parks and Recreation and Public Works), Boise State University, US Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Army Corps of Engineers, Ada County Highway District, and Idaho Department of Water Resources.

2)      Create Community Engagement Workplan that describes the kinds of community engagement and volunteers (professional, manual labor, skilled, etc.) needed, when needed, and who is responsible for recruitment including a calendar of planned community engagement opportunities (e.g open house, willow planting).  The plan will also establish quantifiable goals for engagement.

3)      Create a Community Engagement database and use it to track community engagement and volunteer activity.

4)      Create a Public Relations Workplan that includes dates for press releases, media tours, public events, blogs, presentations, videos, project updates, describes the social media strategy, and assigns responsibilities. Goals for number of people reached will be established.

5)   Create a Knowledge Transfer workplan that includes tasks and a timeline to ensure that knowledge of the project, including design, permitting, partnership creation, construction, community engagement and monitoring, is transferred to other stakeholders in the watershed to support Boise River enhancement. Goals for the number of stakeholders reached in Ada and in Canyon counties will be established.

6)   Create a plant palate and planting plan: The Land Trust will work with the Intermountain Bird Observatory and local restoration and water quality experts to create the planting palate desired and a site plan to guide the planting effort.

7)   Cottonwood seedlings will be grown from seed collected nearby which will help get a jump start on the enhancement effort. Volunteer effort will begin.

8)   Additional plant material will be grown by the Land Trust and its partners over the course of the project, building an inventory for enhancement for this specific project.

Jan. – June 2018 1)      Update technical design and develop work plan and monitoring plan of daylighting project.

2)      Provide opportunities for public input on design.

3)     Seeds will be collected and riparian shrub cuttings will be prepared for planting.

April 2018 Develop RFPs for Contractors: clearing & grubbing; asphalt removal; irrigation demo, temporary supply, final repair; excavation of channel; plants; turf replacement; concrete & asphalt; park elements.
July 2018 Secure all necessary permits
July 2018 1)      Promote the daylighting project in local media and with target audiences.

2)      Secure balance of implementation funds needed.

July 2018 Selection of Contractors; Contracts Established
Sept 2018 1)      Community Engagement Report that tracks numbers of volunteers, jobs accomplished, hours volunteered and basic demographic data.

2)      Communication/Education Annual Report that describes public relations and knowledge transfer activities and results.

Oct 2018 – Feb 2019 Construction window:
Day 1 Survey
Day 2 -3 Turf Clearing & Grubbing; Irrigation Preparation
Day 4 – 10 Earthwork – excavation of channel; grading; install gravels
Day 7 – 9 Headwall & Railing at Daylighting point
Day 11 – 14 Installations: interpretive kiosks, park elements, irrigation
Day 15 – 16 Landscaping
3 months after up to 5 years Assess Performance Measures: Water Quality, Fish presence, etc., as determined in monitoring plan
6 months after award Semi-Annual Performance Report
9 months after award 270-day Performance Report
Sept 30, 2019 1)      Final Performance Report

2)      Community Engagement Report that tracks numbers of volunteers, jobs accomplished, hours volunteered and basic demographic data.

3)      Communication/Education Annual Report that describes public relations and knowledge transfer activities and results.