Whychus Creek restoration begins

Jul 09, 2021
The Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch has begun! Bulldozers and excavators hit the ground running at 6am on July 6th!

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

The Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch has begun!

Bulldozers and excavators hit the ground running at 6am on July 6th and started working on restoring 1/2 mile of Whychus Creek near the southern boundary of Rimrock Ranch where it borders Whychus Canyon Preserve. (Learn more about why are we restoring Whychus Creek and who is doing the restoration.) With the first short week of restoration officially under our belts, here are a few of the changes that have already occurred:

A excavator removes soil as part of the Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: Land Trust.
A excavator removes soil as part of the Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: Land Trust.

1. Prep work and floodplain shaping. Crews built temporary roads into the restoration area and across Whychus Creek (over culverts) to facilitate the movement of materials and equipment. These roads will be removed as the work is completed. 

Once these access roads were built, excavators and dump trucks began removing soil from the valley floor. One of the goals of this project is to reconnect Whychus Creek to its historic floodplain. To do this, construction crews will bring the elevation of the surrounding valley floor down, while bringing up portions of Whychus Creek. In short, lots of soil has to moved! Crews will eventually use this some of this soil to fill the old straight Whychus Creek channel. As they remove soil, they are leaving islands of mature vegetation throughout valley floor to provide habitat for fish and wildlife and help naturally re-seed the restoration area. Once elevations are correct, the creek will be able to move across the valley floor around these islands of vegetation. Watch the video above to see some of the work in progress.

 

2. Fish rescue! To facilitate the restoration process, wildlife biologists removed all fish from the portion of Whychus Creek where the work will be occurring. They installed block nets above and below the restoration area and then worked as a team to search for fish to move. They used a process called electroshocking where fish are briefly stunned with a non-lethal current of electricity making them easier to net and transport to their new home. These nets will stay in place throughout the restoration to keep resident and migratory fish safe. Watch the video below to see some of the rescue in progress.



Construction on the Rimrock Ranch restoration project will continue through July and part of August. We look forward to sharing more news in our next update. Stay tuned!


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