East Fork Beech Creek Wood #1 Underway…

In collaboration with the Malheur National Forest, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have contributed funding and assistance with riparian plantings and Beaver Dam Analogs (BDA’s) on East Fork Beech Creek, near Mt. Vernon, Oregon. East Fork Beech Creek has critical habitat for Summer steelhead.

In July of 2017 construction began on the stream that included 4 miles of channel work. Within that 4-mile section, 2-miles of side channel will be activated during high flows, this will provide critical habitat for juvenile salmonid fish.  To help raise the water table to help improve riparian vegetation, late summer flows, and reduce high velocity flow events the project added 75 BDA’s, 129 large wood jams. There were a total of 500 large trees that were thinned on site and utilized in the channel, plus 1175 posts from lodgepole or juniper also from the site.

In addition, old log “weirs” were removed and floodplain debris was added to enhance habitat. Approximately 10,000 willows will be collected to weave into the BDA’s, as these will encourage more floodplain activity for the spring of 2018. Cottonwood pole cuttings will be planted and protected from deer and elk browse later this year.

The Malheur National Forest has additional plans to continue working upstream within the next few years. This will help restore late summer flows for fish, and provide additional spawning and rearing habitat.

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High flow event in May 2017, picture show a lack of riparian vegetation and floodplain connectivity.
Forest Service staff examine an old log weir in the dry channel which will be removed and BDA’s installed.
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Equipment adds trees and other floodplain woody debris to enhance habitat on the floodplain and in the channel.
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East Fork Beech Creek with newly added floodplain fish habitat (woody debris)
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Lodgepole posts installed that will later have the willows woven in to create “beaver dam analogs”

Pre-project Photopoint #1 in May of 2017  and After photo taken in August, showing the change from the habitat additions: