McKenzie River Watershed Restoration

deer creek restoration - mckenzie river, Oregon
Mar 27 2020

McKenzie River Watershed Restoration

A Modern approach to Valley Scale Restoration

This is a revolutionary new approach for restoring fish habitat – restoring the river to the way it was before mankind started channeling the rivers.

Dear Creek restoration is finished and native salmon and trout have immediately taken to the new spawning and hatching grounds.

It will surely help improve the entire McKenzie River watershed and increase the salmon runs.

This project was so successful, the same team was able to initiate other similar projects elsewhere on the McKenzie – the South fork of the McKenzie, just below Cougar Dam and soon another section of the river on McKenzie River Trust preservation land called Finn Rock Reach.

These are exciting times in river conservation. According to Kate Meyer, the project lead and Fisheries Biologist with the Willamette National Forest, Deer Creek is the fist river restoration project of its kind in the United States.

In 2015, the USFS and MWC began to develop restoration plans for Deer Creek. 

The goal was to improve ecological function and biological productivity for native fish and wildlife.

The design focused on restoring impaired processes, such as wood and sediment storage and floodplain inundation, that creates and maintains habitat over time.

Given how incised Deer Creek was, traditional stream restoration methods that create log jams within the existing channel would not create the desired floodplain connectivity, and potential for wood to blow out under the “fire hose” conditions was high.   

Partners decided instead to use an alternative, innovative restoration approach called ‘Stage 0’ Restoration.

‘Stage 0’ refers to the pre-disturbance condition in alluvial river valleys before Euro-American settlement. In most cases, that pre-disturbance condition is an anastomosing, multi-thread system of channels and wetlands, similar to this unmodified river in Alaska. 

Click the link below to see amazing pictures of the restoration project.

Deer Creek River Restoration Presentation

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