Deschutes Land Trust and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council to offer media tour of restoration project on Whychus Creek that was delayed by the Grandview Fire

Jul 27, 2021
The Land Trust and Watershed Council announced today details for a media tour of a major stream restoration project happening at the Land Trust’s Rimrock Ranch.

Aerial footage of the first part of the Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch. Video: Land Trust.


The Deschutes Land Trust and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council announced today details for a media tour of a major stream restoration project happening at the Land Trust’s Rimrock Ranch. Restoration began the week of June 28th on the southernmost portion of Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch and will improve habitat in and around the creek for fish and wildlife. A media tour will be offered on August 2, 2021 at 11am (details below) to see the restoration and recognize restoration construction company Crestline Construction for their efforts battling the Grandview Fire.

This restoration marks the second phase of a multi-phased restoration effort along Whychus Creek at the Land Trust’s Rimrock Ranch and Whychus Canyon Preserve. One mile was restored in 2016, transformation of a half mile is currently underway, 1.5 miles is planned for completion in 2023, with additional miles proposed in the years beyond.

Progress on the restoration project was threatened by the Grandview fire that started on July 11 and burned more than 6,000 acres in Jefferson and Deschutes Counties. The Grandview fire burned across portions of the northern boundary of Rimrock Ranch, but thanks to the efforts of firefighters working to contain the fire, restoration work on Whychus Creek was able to resume on July 19.

Now that the fire has been contained, contractors from Crestline Construction are back at work on the restoration project removing berms that are holding the stream in a straight alignment. This effort will help promote the natural movement of meandering creek channels across the historic floodplain. Salvaged whole trees are being added to create complex habitat for fish and wildlife. Then, this fall, thousands of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses will be planted and seeded to provide stream shade, floodplain stability, and habitat for wildlife.

“After a yearlong delay due to the pandemic and then after facing the threat from the Grandview fire, it’s great to get things underway with our second phase of the Whychus Creek restoration. These restoration projects are so important for building healthy natural systems for our region in the face of a changing climate. Our efforts will help make the creek more sustainable in the long-term, improve water quality and quantity, and create much healthier habitat for fish and wildlife in Central Oregon. We’re very grateful to our many partners, funders and volunteers who have made this work possible,” said Deschutes Land Trust stewardship director, Amanda Egertson.

“The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council has been working with partners for nearly two decades in Whychus Creek to improve habitat for fish and wildlife ,” explained Kris Knight, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council’s executive director. “The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council has been working with partners like the Deschutes Land Trust, U.S. Forest Service, and many others to remove dams and fish passage barriers in Whychus Creek and also restore Whychus Creek to more natural conditions. This project will improve habitat and support the reintroduction program for salmon and steelhead in Whychus Creek, but also benefit native, resident fish like redband trout. These types of projects require an entire community of partners and supporters and we are excited to be continuing another phase of restoration on Whychus Creek.”

To learn more about the Rimrock restoration project, a media tour will be offered on August 2, 2021 at 11 am. Join staff and restoration specialists from the Land Trust and the Watershed Council to see the restoration work up close and in person. Bulldozers, excavators, and dump trucks will be moving soil and placing trees in preparation for switching Whychus Creek back to a natural system of stream channels. After the tour, there will also be a chance to attend a lunch on site where the Deschutes Land Trust and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council will recognize Crestline Construction for their help in containing the Grandview fire. Crestline Construction used their bulldozers, excavators, and water trucks that were already onsite for the restoration project to build fire lines and offer other assistance to the agencies working to contain the fire. Officials at Oregon Department of Forestry have said support from Crestline Construction was a critical component to helping contain the southern flank of the fire. To join the tour, please RSVP here.

The Rimrock restoration is a partnership between the Land Trust and Watershed Council. There are many important partners providing expertise and services for the project. These partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Portland General Electric, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Primary funders of the project include: Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pelton Round Butte Fund (Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs), U.S. Forest Service, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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