Photo: Rick Dingus.

Rimrock Ranch Restoration Wrapping Up

Aug 10, 2023 by Sarah Mowry
This summer's restoration of Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch is wrapping up!

Questions? Contact our team!

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The Whychus Creek restoration at Rimrock Ranch is wrapping up! Crews were on site all summer working to restore 1.5 miles of Whychus Creek and the surrounding valley floor. Our goal: improve habitat in and around the creek for fish and wildlife, and the resulting transformation is dramatic! Accomplishments include:

  • Floodplain shaping: To reconnect Whychus Creek to its historic floodplain, construction crews removed soil in some places to bring the elevation of the valley floor down, and also added soil/materials in other places to bring portions of Whychus Creek up and fill in the old channel. Up to four feet of soil and rock (about 50,000 cubic yards!) was removed in the process.
  • Newly created habitat: More than 50 acres of the valley floor was made accessible to water flows to provide habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • Maintaining habitat: During the floodplain shaping, islands of mature vegetation were left throughout the valley floor to provide habitat for fish and wildlife and help naturally re-seed the restoration area. Pools were also left in the otherwise filled Whychus Creek channel, and new pools were created throughout the floodplain. Both will provide near-term habitat for fish as the restoration evolves.
  • Woody debris: About 3,000 trees (some whole with root wads intact) were placed across the valley floor to help slow water and reduce erosion as the restoration project evolves. This woody debris also gives stream processes time to settle in before the creek chooses its preferential paths. Woody debris also provides important habitat for fish and wildlife. Learn more here
  • Water release: Water from Whychus Creek was released from the temporary bypass channel to the valley floor in a phased approach. The first release included the lower third of the restoration area, and then several days later, water was released onto the remaining portion of the restoration area. 

What’s next? Planting, lots of planting! This fall, 37,000 native plants will be planted in the restoration area. Native seed will also be spread, and then we will let the restoration area rest, evolve, and grow.

Learn more: