Project would restore South Fork streambanks
November 23, 2015
BLUE RIVER: The U.S. Forest Service is looking at 834 acres along the South Fork McKenzie River for some restoration work. The area extends from the base of Cougar Dam to the confluence with the McKenzie River (approximately 4.5 miles). Features include the mainstem channel and all the current or historic side channels along with the floodplain. Most of the project area is under Forest Service ownership, except for approximately 32 acres owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The project was designed to improve habitat, ecological function, and biological productivity for endangered species including spring Chinook salmon and bull trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish, western pond turtle, amphibians, beaver, and waterfowl. It is currently in the preliminary design phase with an expected final design by December, followed by and environmental analysis and documentation completed by March of 2016. Officials say comments are appreciated anytime, however, for input to be timely and considered in project design, they should be received by December 13, 2015.
Details include retaining gravels necessary for fish spawning and fine sediment needed for lamprey rearing and western pond turtle nesting, and maintaining a well-connected floodplain with abundant side channels.
During the work phase approximately 49 acres of levees and riprap would be removed from stream banks and historic floodplains using heavy equipment. That material would be sorted on site and used for channel reconstruction and gravel augmentation within project area.
Gravel and other sediment removed within the project area could be placed either at select locations suitable for spawning or in areas where the gravel will be transported into spawning reaches.
In addition, up to 4,000 pieces of large wood would be placed in stream channels and across adjacent floodplains.
Comments may be submitted online at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=43959 or mailed to Kate Meyer, Fisheries Biologist at McKenzie River Ranger District, 57600 McKenzie Hwy, McKenzie Bridge, Oregon 97413.
Image above: Courtesy USFS. A proposed restoration project could impact 4.5 miles of the South Fork, upstream from its confluence with the McKenzie River.
McKenzie River Reflections