The Warm Springs Fish Habitat Program recently finished their 2017 effectiveness monitoring of the Potter’s Pond Project on Mill Creek. Prior to project implementation in 2013, the project was selected to be included in the Bonneville Power Administration’s Action Effectiveness Monitoring (AEM) Program.

AEM is a thorough monitoring protocol used to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration projects similar to the Potter’s Pond Project. This protocol assesses physical changes (i.e. floodplain connection, habitat quality, substrate, woody debris) and biological changes (juvenile fish use and macro-invertebrates). The protocol requires creating a full topographic survey within a subset of the project boundary, snorkeling for juvenile fish, and collecting aquatic insects.

The topographic survey is further analyzed to measure changes within the project area. As seen in the accompanied figures, project actions have greatly increased the amount of habitat available to aquatic organisms, significantly increased the amount of water within the historic floodplain and created higher quality pool habitat.

This survey interval for AEM is not performed annually; surveys are to be conducted the year before work, year 0 (as built), year 1, year 3, year 5 and year 10. In 2017, Fisheries Department staff completed “year 3” of the monitoring interval.

The before-and-after images below show changes in the project channel and floodplain topography.

Crews snorkel the project reach to monitor fish populations
Aaron and Martha perform insect collections in the monitoring area on Mill Creek