Whychus Creek restoration begins

Aug 05, 2016
The Whychus Creek restoration at Whychus Canyon Preserve has begun! Bulldozers and diggers hit the ground running at 6am on August 1st. They started at the northern end of the Preserve where it borders Rimrock Ranch and are working upstream from there.

WATCH: Fish rescuers hard at work during the Whychus Creek restoration.

The Whychus Creek restoration at Whychus Canyon Preserve has begun!

Bulldozers and diggers hit the ground running at 6am on August 1st. They started at the northern end of the Preserve where it borders Rimrock Ranch and are working upstream from there. (Reminder: this summer's restoration is occurring on the northernmost mile of the Preserve. Learn more.) With the first week of restoration officially under our belts, here are a few of the changes that have already occurred:

Measuring a fish before moving it to its new home in Whychus Creek. Photo: Jay Mather.
Measuring a fish before moving it to its new home in Whychus Creek. Photo: Jay Mather.
 1. Creek movement and fish rescue! The first 1000 feet of Whychus Creek has been relocated into a new channel and fish have been moved to their new home.

The northernmost 1200 feet of Whychus Creek at the Preserve was in pretty good shape with lots of streamside vegetation and less streamside berming. In fact, this stretch of creek was the "reference reach" for the restoration project which helped design teams establish what the restored creek should look like.

Since less dramatic work was needed in this section, crews redirected the creek into a historic channel and begin filling the old channel to bring it up to the same elevation. As the water was redirected, lots of biologists were on hand to rescue fish and move them to their new home. Watch the video above to see some of the rescue in progress, then be sure to watch our photo slideshow from week 1!

 

2. Floodplain grading and log jam building. Moving upstream, the major thrust of work in the big open meadow (former Whychus Creek floodplain) is to bring the elevation of the meadow down so Whychus Creek can reach it. Crews begin grading the meadow this week dropping it 3-4 feet in places. The goal is to bring the meadow level down to future creek bed level and then build log-jam islands up to distribute the flow of the creek across the meadow. These log jams will be part of the large woody debris that is added to the creek. Learn more about the importance of large woody debris and then watch as lead US Forest Service hydrologist Cari Press talks about this part of the project:

 

Learn more about the restoration: