Deer Creek


In 2016, the US Forest Service and the watershed council partnered to implement a restoration project on the lower portion of Deer Creek. The intent was to resort natural processes that create and maintain diverse habitat for fish and wildlife. Constraining berms were removed and material redistributed within the incised mainstem channel. Large wood was added over the 1.1-mile project area throughout 35 acres of floodplain. Initial results have already been remarkable. High flows during the past winter transported, sorted and deposited gravels around logjams and over the floodplain. Multiple channels and deep pools have formed providing diverse habitat for fish. Beaver are now active, and native vegetation is reestablishing throughout the floodplain. 

Funding for the project was provided by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s “Bring Back the Natives” program, EWEB, the Mt. Hood/Willamette National Forest Resource Advisory Committee, the Western Native Trout Initiative and the Willamette National Forest.

History

•Historic riparian logging and stream cleaning reduced channel and floodplain roughness.

•1964 flood scoured entire floodplain and increased transport capacity.

•Berms were constructed, channelizing the stream and creating a single-thread, incised, transport channel with minimal floodplain connectivity.

Design

•Reset channel/floodplain elevations by redistributing berm material into incised main-stem channel.

•Add large wood throughout floodplain into create complexity and dissipate flow wherever dynamic channels may migrate.

•Allow Natural process to create channels, islands bars, and complex habitat without engineered channel construction.

Implementation

•Over 450 pieces of large wood placed over 1.1 miles and 35 acres.

•5.5 acres of berm material redistributed throughout incised channel floodplain.

•Established partnership with ODFW for biological monitoring (Chinook and rainbow/cutthroat trout spawning surveys).