More riparian restoration
McKenzie Trust will restore channel at Finn Rock Reach
May 27, 2021
FINN ROCK: A 60-acre construction zone will take shape within weeks just downstream from the old Rockabye Cabins site in Finn Rock. During the project to restore riparian habitat, water will be temporarily diverted and large amounts of earth will be moved to re-contour down-cut areas and old gravel piles.
Recent social media posts have been criticized the project, hopefully, due to a misunderstanding of the water diversion according to Daniel Dietz, Conservation Director of the McKenzie River Trust. The Trust purchased the 277-acre Finn Rock Reach property from Rosboro in 2016.
Dietz said the Trust was interested in the property because of its current and potential floodplain habitat values and to secure access at the popular Finn Rock Boat Launch. "While the Holiday Farm Fire scorched the area, its impacts also highlighted the value of a higher water table and active connections between a river and its floodplain," he said. "The two-phased restoration project is designed to reclaim an area that saw 50 years of heavy gravel extraction and other negative effects on those floodplain dynamics."
What some critics may not know is that although a diversion dam will be used to redirect about 20 percent of the flow from the Finn Rock side channel, it won't be permanent.
Some dry ground is needed while heavy machinery moves over 1,500 large logs and whole trees. But the diversion dam will last only from June through August when it will be removed before spawning salmon return.
"As with similar projects upstream, people can expect to see great improvements in habitat for native fish and wildlife including Chinook salmon, rainbow and cutthroat trout, lamprey, western pond turtle, beaver, and more," Dietz said. "Upon completion, the area will receive the same volume of water from upstream, but it will be slowed down and will meander across an area three times what it does today."