Completing a GIS layer of 5th and 6th Level watersheds has long been a high priority for the PNW. This project has been a high priority in the IRICC and REO work plan approved by the agency executives. It has also been a time-consuming effort as interagency partners coordinate with remote offices to complete this effort on an ad hoc basis. A process which is intrinsically subjective, yet must be consistent with national standards. A number of key PNW efforts now depend upon completion of these maps. These include the aquatic effectiveness strategy for the Northwest Forest Plan, the development of the NRIS water module and Core GIS Layers, and the probable monitoring strategy for the Interior Columbia Basin. A consistent watershed framework will enable substantial work in monitoring, assessment, planning and restoration, which will serve the region for years to come.
5th Level Watersheds
Federal and state hydrologists at both the agency and field level have been working to develop 5th level watersheds in the PNW. The Regional Ecosystem Office (REO) has been coordinating this process, initially developing the strategy, scheduling videoconference meetings, and managing the resulting data sets. This process has been ongoing for 2 years, and we expect to have a final product within the next 2 months. The BLM State office has coordinated an update on areas in Western Oregon which were completed early in this process. NRCS will be working to finish the couple areas with the states where no federal lands are contained.
6th Level Watersheds
6th level watersheds have been developed at the local level for almost all federal lands in the PNW. The issue is that these watersheds have been developed before the national protocols have been established, and have not been coordinated on an interagency basis.
A process had been established by the principles to develop 6th Levels, which would basically set the responsibility and authority for coordination and development of 6th Level at the local level. This process was expected to take several years to complete. This timeframe will not meet the above requirements for this information, and so a new project plan has been proposed.
This plan would instead utilize a series of workshops where hydrologists would meet in a large setting to work through the coordination issues involved in developing 6th level watersheds. This process will cost significantly more in time and dollars, but will expedite the development of 6th Levels. The following table illustrates the general costs for this project:
To prepare for these workshops REO will coordinate and prepare the final set of 5th level watersheds. REO will then distribute this to the agencies. REO will then collate the existing 6th level watersheds and prepare this product as an initial draft for the workshops. REO will then coordinate the drafting of the workshop resulting linework into a final product for the PNW. The REO website www.reo.gov, will be used to distribute map products, project information, workshop schedules and related information.
These workshops will be scheduled around the May timeframe (see schedule below), and are contingent upon the completion of the 5th Levels. To meet this timeframe agencies will need to commit to 4 primary gateways in the process. 1) that 5th level watersheds, currently agreed to but waiting final line drafting by the field units, by the dates below, 2) that 6th level watersheds will be sent to the REO by March 15th , 3) agency and field hydrologists will attend the scheduled workshops, 4) agencies will contribute resources or dollars to ensure that the workshop results, a set of draft lines, will be digitized and matched to the topography at the 1:24,000 scale.
The following identifies the general sequence of work designed to provide a completed map of 5th and 6th Levels by June 2001.