ITEM:            CONSENT CALENDAR 3. CONSIDER AUTHORIZATION OF FUNDS TO CONTRACT WITH VENTANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY FOR CARMEL RIVER AVIAN HABITAT MONITORING Meeting Date: April 16, 2007 Budgeted:  Proposed for FY 2007-2008 From: David Berger, Program/ General Manager Line Item No.:  2-1-3.B Prepared By: Thomas Christensen Cost Estimate:  $4,152.00 General Counsel Approval: N/A Committee Recommendation: The Administrative Committee considered this item on April 9, 2007 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 2007. 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$4,152, 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 2006 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.  The avian species monitoring Avian Guild Census (Spring and Fall observations of birds at nine locations along the Carmel River and calculation of the Species Diversity Index for each location) has been carried out annually from 1992 through 2006.  Tasks 1 and 2 are to conduct the Species Diversity Index (SDI) monitoring, and Task 3 is to prepare a report on results of the SDI monitoring activities. The costs for Tasks 1, 2, and 3 total $3,003.04, as shown in Exhibit 3-A. This year’s proposed monitoring includes a protocol known as Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) (Tasks 4 and 5). This protocol includes the mist-netting of birds at three key sites along the river to track avian population size and productivity. The costs for Tasks 3 and 4 would be shared among the District ($1,148.74, or approximately 21 percent of the $6,689.39 total cost), VWS ($3,868.30) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act ($1,672.35), as shown in Exhibit 3-A. The District has contracted with VWS for MAPS monitoring in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 but did not request funds for MAPS in 2005 and 2006 because of budget constraints. The impact of not performing the MAPS monitoring this year is that there would not be information on avian population size and productivity for 2007. The scope includes collection and analysis of Species Diversity Index data and MAPS data as well as the preparation of both 2007 annual reports. IMPACTS ON STAFF AND RESOURCES: Estimated MPWMD costs for the scope of work as shown in Exhibit 3-A total$4,151.78.  Mileage expenses are included in this not-to-exceed amount. The scope of work would be the same as was conducted in 2004 but at a significantly lower cost because of the sharing of the costs among the District, VWS, and USFWS funds for the MAPS work.  In FY 2004-2005, the contract not-to-exceed amount was $15,600. The savings reflect the sharing of the cost of the MAPS protocol described above ($13,700 in 2004).  For the 2007 contract, the not-to-exceed amount will be \$4,152. Although services under the contract (Task 1:  Spring 2007 Transect Monitoring) will begin in the current fiscal year, billing for all work done under the contract will be submitted during FY 2007-2008.  The budget for FY 2007-2008 has not been adopted, but staff will propose including funding for this contract.  The 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

3-B      Location Map Showing Monterey Peninsula Avian Monitoring Sites

3-C      Schulte Restoration Project Species Diversity Index

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