Santa Cruz, CA
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  Portland, OR
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Blackwood Creek Stream Restoration

woodydebris webClient: US Forest Service

Waterways staff led an interdisciplinary team to assess existing conditions within the Blackwood Creek Watershed, and then prepare detailed engineering plans and specifications for recommended projects. Blackwood Creek is a major tributary to Lake Tahoe, drains a mix of steep volcanic and granitic terrain, has a high bedload transport rate, and was historically impacted by grazing, logging, and instream gravel mining. Key impacts identified during the study were excessive bank erosion and channel widening associated with channel incision and loss of floodplain connectivity and the presence of several fish passage barriers. To restore the physical processes that sustain channel morphology and biological function, an aggressive, long-term restoration strategy was proposed. To date, four distinct restoration projects have been designed and implemented:​

  • The projects completed or in the design phase include:Removal of a concrete dam and non-functional fish ladder and replacement with a natural boulder step-pool channel to provide improved fish passage and improve sediment transport competence and continuity (completed 2004);
  • Removal of an existing failed concrete ford crossing and replacement with a three-span 140-foot bridge and restored channel that incorporates boulder weirs for fish passage enhancement (completed 2006);
  • Installation of over 40 engineered log jams and boulder structures within approximately 3000 feet of incised channel designed to increase channel length, induce sediment deposition, protect eroding banks, and improve floodplain connectivity (two phases of construction in Summer 2008 and 2009); and
  • Enhancement of approximately 2000 feet of incised channel through installation of channel features that would increase roughness, encourage sediment deposition, and set the stage for improved floodplain connectivity and reactivation of secondary channels (constructed summer 2012).

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