ITEM: CONSENT CALENDAR 3. CONSIDER AUTHORIZATION OF FUNDS TO CONTRACT WITH VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY FOR CARMEL RIVER AVIAN HABITAT MONITORING Meeting Date: March 20, 2006 Budgeted:  Yes From: David Berger, Program/ General Manager Line Item No.:  2-1-3.B Prepared By: Thomas Christensen Cost Estimate:  $2947.00 General Counsel Approval: N/A Committee Recommendation: The Administrative Committee considered this item on March 13, 2006 and recommended approval. CEQA Compliance: N/A SUMMARY: The Board will consider authorizing staff to retain the Ventana Wildlife Society (VWS) to continue the District’s avian (bird) habitat monitoring program on the Carmel River during calendar year 2006. This work will continue the monitoring of bird life along the river conducted since 1992, including the collection of data on the use of the Carmel River riparian corridor during bird migration and breeding seasons. This monitoring is conducted in accordance with the Mitigation Program for the District’s Water Allocation Program EIR. The proposed scope of work, costs, and schedule are as shown in Exhibit 3-A. RECOMMENDATION: District staff recommends that the Board authorize the General Manager to enter into a contract with the Ventana Wildlife Society for avian habitat monitoring work along the Carmel River at a cost not to exceed$2,947, with the scope of work, costs and schedule as shown in Exhibit 3-A.

BACKGROUND:  Avian (bird) use of riparian habitat provides an excellent indicator of wildlife habitat value.  In 1992, the District established permanent sampling locations for avian species monitoring at several sites along the Carmel River.  The purpose of this program is to measure bird use at the monitoring sites, thus providing an indication of changing patterns of habitat values in the District’s restoration project areas.  Information on bird populations and avian species diversity collected as part of the District’s Mitigation Program has assisted in documenting trends in the response of wildlife populations to habitat enhancements implemented by the District.  Locations of the monitoring sites are shown in Exhibit 3-B. An example of the data collected from 1992 through 2005 at the Schulte Restoration Project is shown in Exhibit 3-C.  The two major dips in bird counts that can be seen in the graphs are likely the result of the reduction and disturbance of riparian habitat caused by the high river flows and erosion in 1995 and 1998.  The higher bird counts following the two dips indicate a recovery of the extent and health of the riparian habitat.  The District’s riparian vegetation planting and irrigation activities promote growth and health of riparian vegetation, and are a likely reason for the higher bird counts.

The VWS sampling will span the spring and fall migration and breeding seasons for a look at patterns of wildlife use in District planting areas.  Long-term monitoring of the same sampling locations provides an indication of the overall changes in wildlife habitat values resulting from the District’s planting, irrigation, and erosion protection efforts.

This years monitoring also contains last year’s reduction in scope for avian monitoring in 2006 which staff elected not to conduct a protocol known as Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS).  This protocol includes the mist netting of birds at four key sites along the river to track avian population size and productivity.  The District has contracted with VWS for MAPS monitoring in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  The impact of not performing the MAPS monitoring this year is that there will not be information on avian population size and productivity for 2006.  However, the fundamental avian species monitoring that has been carried out annually from 1992 through 2005 (Spring and Fall observations of birds at 9 locations along the Carmel River and calculation of the Species Diversity Index for each location) is proposed to be continued in 2006.

IMPACTS ON STAFF AND RESOURCES:  Estimated costs for the scope of work as shown in Exhibit 3-A total $2,947. Mileage expenses are included in this not-to-exceed amount. The scope of work has been reduced significantly from the work performed in previous years in recognition of budget limitations in FY 2005-2006. In FY 2004-2005, the contract not-to-exceed amount was$15,600.  The savings reflect the cost of the MAPS protocol described above ($13,700 in 2004). This year, the not-to-exceed amount is proposed to be$2,947. This is $947 more than the$2000 budgeted for FY 2005-2006 (Budget Line Item No.: 2-1-3.B). Staff recommends that the additional \$947 come from the District’s budgeted contingency account.  The scope includes collection and analysis of Species Diversity Index data and preparation of the 2006 annual report.  This work will be performed under the direction of the District’s Riparian Projects Coordinator.

EXHIBITS

Proposal for Professional Avian Monitoring Services from Ventana Wildlife Society

Location Map Showing Monterey Peninsula Avian Monitoring Sites

Schulte Restoration Project Species Diversity Index

U:\staff\word\boardpacket\2006\2006boardpackets\20060320\ConsentCal\03\item3.doc