Willow Springs Preserve Restoration Underway

Jul 11, 2022
Crews have been at the Preserve since May preparing materials and are now actively building the natural structures that will be used for restoration.


After a pandemic delay, the stream restoration at Willow Springs Preserve is in full swing! The Land Trust and our restoration partners have been working for several years to plan and implement a project to return the portion of Whychus Creek that runs through the Preserve to a healthy, biologically diverse condition. This time, we are using a low-tech restoration approach to transform a single channel into a braided series of channels that spread out across the valley floor. Learn more about the restoration approach.

Crews have been at the Preserve since May preparing materials and are now actively building the natural structures that will be used for restoration. There are more than 130 structures being built by hand in this restoration, and those structures fall into two main categories.

The first type (shown in the video below) look like log jams in the stream, but they are constructed with vertical wooden posts that are angled against placed logs in order to provide stability. These are used to shift the flow of the creek in certain directions. Crews are currently working on building these structures throughout the 3/4 mile stretch of Whychus Creek at the Preserve.



The second type are smaller, beaver dam-like structures (like the photo below) that are being built in the dry meadow. These will help slow and spread water during high water events, and, like beaver dams, will help create pools as the project evolves. Construction crews have built many of these already, and volunteers will help finish building these later in July.

A newly built log structure to aid in the restoration of Whychus Creek at Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
A newly built log structure to aid in the restoration of Whychus Creek at Willow Springs Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.

The goal is to finish constructing all the structures by the end of July, or mid-August at the latest. Then, this fall, thousands of native plants will be added to the restoration area to provide stream shade, soil stability, and habitat for wildlife. Finally, like many Land Trust restoration projects, we will let the restoration area rest, recover, and evolve.

Although Willow Springs Preserve is closed to the public, we encourage you to register for one of our guided walks to learn more about the project. We appreciate your patience as we work to make Whychus Creek healthier for us all!

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