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The Prospect Island Restoration Project is designed to restore shallow water tidal habitat in the northern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sponsor the project with funding support from California Urban Water Agencies via CALFED's Category III Program. Presently, no funds have been allocated for monitoring. DWR is requesting that Category III fund three years of post-project monitoring with focus on the following elements: fish, wildlife, water quality, vegetation, phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, bathymetry and organic carbon. An IEP Project Work team would conduct three years of monitoring beginning in November 2000. Costs are estimated to be approximately $850,000 the first year, and $750,000 the following two years for a total of $2.3 million dollars. A description of project objectives and monitoring questions and objectives that will help determine whether the Prospect Island project is succeeding or failing as a restoration site is presented in the following section. A summary of target animals and habitat types is found in Table 1; a summary of the proposed monitoring plan is in Table 2; and detailed descriptions of the monitoring elements are presented in Appendices A through J. Figure 2 shows the sampling sites for the different monitoring elements.

Prospect Island is a pilot project and therefore it is important to evaluate the extent restoration activities result in beneficial conditions for targeted aquatic, terrestrial and avian species. Results of the monitoring will be presented in the IEP Newsletter and annual reports submitted to the IEP for publication. A comprehensive report will be prepared after three years of sampling. All data collected will be stored on the IEP home page and will be accessible to the public. The proposed Prospect Island monitoring plan adheres to IEP QA/QC guidelines as referenced in Appendix J.

The monitoring plan is designed to provide information in three areas. The first is ecological processes taking place on the island as a result of restoration activities (subsidence or erosion of habitat features, water circulation patterns as a result of location of the breaches); the second is success of the project through use of habitat by targeted species; the third is flux of organic carbon from the restored habitat to Delta channels (organic carbon is important as a potential food source for organisms downstream and for its potential effects on drinking water quality). In each case, the information provided will enable the use of adaptive management principles to help guide the successful restoration of similar projects through the Delta. However, it is important to note that this proposal covers only three years of monitoring. Ideally, monitoring should continue until biological and physical project features stabilize, a period of at least 10-15 years. Finally, it is important to establish a precedent for post-project monitoring for future restoration projects in the Delta. It is our hope that the Prospect Island monitoring plan will be used as a baseline plan for the monitoring of future restoration projects.

Leo Winternitz,
Environmental Program Manager
Department of Water Resources