Santa Cruz, CA
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  Portland, OR
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Faith Valley Meadow Restoration

IMG 4542 webClient: American Rivers, Inc.

American Rivers performed an assessment of Alpine Meadows in the Carson River watershed, and identified Faith Valley as its highest priority meadow restoration due to its impairments and its popularity with recreational users for fishing, hiking, and camping. American Rivers hired Waterways to complete a baseline conditions assessment and develop designs for habitat improvement. The baseline assessment included topographic survey, modeling, geomorphic mapping, botanical and other assessments. The assessment determined that the primary cause of impairment in Faith Valley is channel incision and associated detrimental impacts, including bank erosion, lowered groundwater table, and degradation of meadow plant assemblages.

Much of this impairment can be traced to recent collapses of large beaver dam complexes in the meadow. Waterways worked with American Rivers, the US Forest Service, and other stakeholders to develop a process based restoration plan that will stabilize the valley and bring the channel closer to the meadow surface, while enhancing the site for recreational users. The project includes installing beaver dam analogs (BDAs) in strategic locations throughout the meadow to aggrade the stream, increase bank stability, and raise groundwater tables. The extensive beaver population in Faith Valley is expected to adopt and maintain many of the BDAs over time, creating a selfsustaining restoration project that will continue to evolve over time to create a dynamic environment that will support wet meadow assemblages, prepare for the possibility of re-introducing native Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, and provide rare wet meadow habitat for endangered birds including the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. Designs also include road improvements and access management to reduce recreational impacts on the meadow. Construction will be phased over multiple years to maximize the benefits of project components. Implementation expected to begin in summer 2021.