Photo: Rick Dingus.

Whychus Creek Restoration Continues

Aug 10, 2021 by Jana Hemphill
The Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch continues with more floodplain shaping and the addition of woody debris.

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The Whychus Creek restoration work at Rimrock Ranch is back in action after crews had to stop due to the proximity of the Grandview Fire.

With a shorter work day due to wildfire safety rules, construction crews are getting an extra early start each day at Rimrock Ranch. Most exciting, several restored portions of the project now have creek water running through them! Here are a few of the changes that have recently occurred:

1. Floodplain shaping. Excavators and dump trucks have been 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 some of this soil to fill in the old straight Whychus Creek channel. As they remove soil, they are leaving islands of mature vegetation throughout the valley floor to provide habitat for fish and wildlife and help naturally reseed the restoration area. Once elevations are adjusted, the creek will be able to move across the valley floor around these islands of vegetation.

2. Woody debris is being added. The Land Trust and our restoration partners frequently use large whole trees, many with roots intact, in creek restoration projects. These trees play an important role in restoration, helping to improve salmon and steelhead habitat in and around Whychus Creek. Learn more about the benefits of woody debris in streams.

3. Water is being moved into the restored area. Once the floodplain has been leveled and woody debris is added, Whychus Creek can be shifted into the restoration area. Several portions have already been moved, shifting water into its new home. Watch the video of our current restoration efforts.

Construction on the Rimrock Ranch restoration project will continue through mid-August. We look forward to sharing more news with you soon!

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