Recently Completed Restoration Projects
Restoration work is as much an art as it is a science, and it is never truly finished.
Culvert replacements, large wood placements, dike removals, invasive species management, and riparian planting and fencing are just some of the actions we take on the ground to restore habitat so that it can sustain salmon and steelhead—and all the other beings that depend on them. It takes a delicate balance of understanding site characteristics and working in partnership with other organizations, agencies, and landowners to see these tasks through.
However, years after these exciting projects wrap up, we still keep our eye on them to ensure that the actions we took are working to achieve the desired goal. Many lessons are learned along the way, and we are happy to share them with you.
Bummer Creek is located in the Alsea River watershed, and has been the target of numerous restoration projects over the past 5 years. It was identified in an OWEB-funded Limiting Factors Analysis (LFA) as temperature and gravel limited. To address these issues, riparian planting, livestock exclusion fencing, culvert replacements and instream large woody debris placements have been implemented on a suite of 8 cooperating small private landowners within the sub-basin.
The LFA also classified the lower mainstem as highly incised and limited by truncated linkage to historical off channel rearing habitats. Both the USFWS and the MCWC have been instrumental in the development of salmonid accessible off channel wetland habitat in partnerships on the Parker property as part of this larger basin scale effort. LiDAR analysis has revealed the presence of 1.5 miles of diked and inaccessible oxbow habitat.
We extended riparian fencing and planting downstream on Bummer Creek to the next 2 adjacent private land parcels (140 acres combined), reconfigured the wetland outlet to exit through its historical channel, and developed additional wetland habitats to store and retain winter runoff to address the summer temperature limitation in mainstem Bummer Creek.
This is a private landowner partnership with in-kind match contributed from Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Funds supported the creation of approximately 1500 feet of livestock exclusion fencing on the Jackson property, putting 7.7 acres of land into riparian reserve in 2018.
Working in partnership with ODFW, MCWC completed a restoration project in Mill Creek in the Siletz Basin in 2016. 679 logs were placed in 57 large wood structures in 6.8 stream miles throughout the coho distribution in the sub-basin. The goal of this project was to address limiting factors in the basin of habitat complexity, primarily winter rearing habitat.
This project was followed up by an extensive Effectiveness Monitoring project to determine the effects of the large wood placement on fluvial geomorphology, aquatic habitat, benthic invertebrates assemblages, overwinter survival of juvenile coho, and overall coho smolt production for the watershed.
Partners include: ODFW, Plum Creek Timber (now Weyerhaeuser), Oregon DEQ, and OSU College of Forestry. The study is designed to inform future in-stream restoration priorities, large wood placement design, land use management, coastal coho recovery goals and objectives, and limiting factors analyses for coho salmon production.
Buckley creek is a direct ocean tributary roughly two miles north of Waldport, Oregon. The creek is occupied by native cutthroat trout, possibly brook lamprey and other aquatic and wildlife species. The site is an important freshwater wetland with beaver pond complexes and a diverse array of habitats. The Buckley Creek watershed area is roughly five square miles.
Previous Federal Emergency Management Agency projects replaced two 48” culverts on Buckley creek in the Silver Sands neighborhood upstream from the project area. These projects left one 48" culvert restricting flow on a private driveway. The culvert underneath this driveway is the last before the stream runs into the Pacific Ocean, just south of Driftwood Beach State Park. The owner has dealt with flooding caused by the remaining 48" culvert in any heavy rainfall event.
To complete this project, we paired a willing landowner with an Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board small grant. The culvert replacement was done in late September of 2016, installing a new 94" squash tube culvert to increase wetland connectivity, alleviate fish passage issues and reduce flooding on adjacent properties.
North Fork Yachats
This project treated approximately 5.5 acres of riparian corridor in the North Fork Yachats Watershed in 2016. Native trees and shrubs were planted and protected from wildlife browse with enclosure fencing. Water bars were installed on abandoned roads to reduce soil erosion and sediment inputs to the watershed, and selected boles of big leaf maple were girdled to create habitat for cavity nesting birds.
Lower Yaquina and North Fork Beaver Creek
This project placed large wood structures in a total of 9 stream miles in the Lower Yaquina River and North Fork Beaver Creek basins, including Wright Creek/Poole Slough, Mill Creek, and Peterson Creek. There were several landowners involved including Siuslaw National Forest, van Eck Forest Foundation, Plum Creek Timber, City of Toledo, The Wetland Conservancy, and private landowners. Most of the large wood was placed by helicopter in fall 2014. ODFW and USFS biologists coordinated and oversaw the wood placement. ODFW’s Habitat Restoration Biologist provided the overall project management and coordination of efforts.