March 24, 2002 11:00 pm

A direct seed program will get $48,000; a meadow restoration project, more than $70,000.

The funds come from the Bonneville Power Administration through the Grande Ronde Model Watershed to support several water-related environmental projects scheduled for spring and summer.

Fifteen riparian and upland projects were awarded funds last week by the model watershed. New BPA rules have delayed approval of a few Forest Service projects, but Lyle Kuchenbecker of the model watershed said some of those may be approved later if they meet BPAs new requirements.

The $70,000 Longley Meadow restoration continues the work begun several years ago along the main stem of the Grande Ronde River through the Cunha Ranch. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is the lead agency for the project.

Direct seeding is being favored as the best planting method to control soil erosion, as well as limit burning. Several growers, including Dale Case of the countys Smoke Management Advisory Committee, have requested grants to help growers convert to the new planting method. In addition to the $48,000 awarded by the model watershed, the growers have received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. The countys Soil and Water Conservation District will administer the funds.

This is a cost-share project, and we have enough funds for several years, Kuchenbecker said.

The final phase of the restoration of McIntyre Creek and the obliteration of a county road running through the creek are expected to be funded for this season. The Forest Service had requested $68,741, but Kuchenbecker said the amount is not final.

Other projects:

Dry Creek Road stabilization in the Umatilla National Forest, $25,800;

Wallowa County gauging stations to record water flow, $23,573;

Grande Ronde Basin stream gauging, and monitoring, $33,028;

Coordination of a Wallowa County Conservation Reserve Enhancement Project that allows environmental improvements on farmland, $45,830;

South Fork Catherine Creek Watershed Restoration, about $22,000, although the amount is not final.

Several smaller projects on public and private land were funded, for a total of $463,924 for the upcoming spring and summer.

Alice Perry Linker