Client: United States Forest Service
The Cookhouse Meadow Restoration Project replaced approximately 1600 linear feet of stream that was incised by 4-6 feet within a meadow setting. The new channel provided a more natural channel morphology, flood regime, and soil moisture regime throughout the meadow. In turn, water quality, vegetation composition, and fish and wildlife habitat was improved. The project used stacked sod, salvaged from distributed areas throughout the adjacent meadow, to construct stable banks that will allow for natural channel evolution and adjustment.
Client: 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:
Client: USFS- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Waterways, in coordination with the USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and Swanson Hydrology, has developed designs to restore the mainstem and tributaries of Cold Creek in the High Meadow Complex (HMC) near South Lake Tahoe, California. The basic restoration objective is to increase soil moisture within approximately 70 acres of meadow area by modifying the morphology and hydrology of the streams in a manner consistent with natural geomorphic processes. Work involves re-constructing approximately 8,700 linear feet of channel and raising the elevation of the streambeds by 2 to 4 feet. The project will significantly increase the diversity and density of meadow wetland vegetation species and shift some areas from seasonally dry and sparse mesic meadows to wet meadow conditions.
The project’s three-year construction plan was completed in 2012, with Waterways providing on-site construction observation.
Client: Truckee River Watershed Council & California State Parks
A 2007 geomorphic assessment of the Coldstream Canyon watershed identified opportunities to restore stream and watershed function along the lower one-half mile of Cold Creek, extending upstream from the confluence with Donner Creek. Waterways, in coordination with River Run Consulting, prepared final designs for the restoration of this reach. Designs included excavating an inset floodplain bench, re-contouring steep banks, and installing log/boulder barb to reduce bank erosion and expand and improve riparian habitat. Waterways and River Run also provided permit support and construction observation.
Client: Vail Resorts
Waterways staff was retained to prepare the Edgewood Watershed Assessment and Enhancement Plan (EWAEP) for the portion of the Edgewood Creek watershed managed by Heavenly Mountain Resort, located in the Lake Tahoe Basin, as part of the resorts 2005 Master Plan. The purpose of the EWAEP was to identify potential restoration projects in the Edgewood Creek watershed to improve Stream Environment Zone health and improve water quality. The final EWAEP was submitted in January 2006 and was followed by four restoration designs completed in 2006.
Client: 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.
Client: California Trout, Inc.
Lower Hat Creek is an important coldwater fishery and is a designated Wild Trout Fishery by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Decades of cattle grazing, the introduction of muskrats, and over fishing caused the degradation of riparian and aquatic habitat along lower Hat Creek. Waterways, in collaboration with Streeter Group and California Trout, Inc., completed designs to restore a reach of Hat Creek. The restoration measures included installing a 160’-long pedestrian bridge and trail, and relocating the parking facilities that improve angler access and reduce habitat disturbance.
Client: American Rivers, Inc. & Placer County Resource Conservation District
Waterways was selected to develop and analyze alternatives for ecological restoration of the Hope Valley Meadow on the West Fork Carson River, with a primary goal of enhancing the full range of ecosystem services this highly visible and well-known meadow provides. The project area encompasses approximately 400 acres of the meadow within Upper Hope Valley, just east of Blue Lakes Road, Alpine County.
Client: The Nature Conservancy
Independence Lake holds one of only two known wild, self-sustaining populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout in the world- a species that has been lost from 99% of its historic range. Waterways staff are proud to have assisted The Nature Conservancy in their efforts to protect and restore this critical habitat through the planning and design of a barrier to exclude non-native fish from the lake.
Client: Granite Construction Company
Waterways staff assisted Granite Construction Company with planning, designing, and permitting an off-channel gravel extraction project on the Kunzler Ranch property, located in Ukiah Valley at the confluence of Ackerman Creek and the Russian River. Waterways conducted hydrologic, hydraulic, and geomorphic analyses to assess flooding impacts, habitat development potential, and channel stability at the proposed project site during project-life and reclamation phases.
Client: Truckee River Watershed Council, U.S. Forest Service
Alpine meadow systems within the central Sierra Nevada have been greatly impacted by past land use practices. One important meadow system that is somewhat intact is Perazzo Meadows, located in the headwaters of the Little Truckee River Watershed. Waterways provided assistance to the Truckee River Watershed Council and the U.S. Forest Service in an evaluation and characterization of the Perazzo Meadow complex and the surrounding watershed. The assessment consisted of a geomorphically-based assessment of the meadow complex. The geomorphic and hydrologic characterization of the meadow system was necessary to provide a framework for planning and design of a comprehensive restoration effort to restore floodplain connectivity and meadow function. It has been well documented that “process based” restoration projects that consider the geomorphic and hydrologic setting of the watershed have a higher likelihood of being successful. Gaining an understanding of these processes allows for development of feasible restoration approaches that are founded in the physical processes which operate in these alpine meadow systems.
Client: Environmental Stewardship and Planning
The Potrero Hills Landfill is in the process of expanding its facilities. The proposed landfill expansion will encompass 170 acres of land and will impact approximately 3 acres of wetland and pond habitat that serve as breeding habitat for the California Tiger Salamander (CTS). Measures to mitigate impacts to CTS include both habitat conservation and wetland enhancements that focus on key species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Client: Syar Industries, Inc.
GEOMORPHIC ANALYSIS OF THE MIDDLE REACH OF THE RUSSIAN RIVER
Waterways, in cooperation with Swanson Hydrology and Geomorphology, completed a detailed hydraulic, geomorphic and sediment transport analyses for the Russian River’s Middle Reach, near Healdsburg. This work focused on the effects of in-stream mining and other human activities on channel morphology and flood capacity. A chrono-sequence of topographic surfaces representing the channel and floodplain were analyzed to calculate volumetric changes in channel geometry over the past 20 years. Then, a hydraulic model was constructed along 5 miles of the Russian River to evaluate land use impacts on flood elevations.
Client: Sonoma County Public Works
Waterways provided planning and design services to the Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works to address two fish passage barriers associated with stream crossings on County roads. The sites consisted of two large concrete box culverts that were limiting fish passage to high quality spawning and rearing habitat located upstream. At each of these culverts, the natural streambed had incised to at least 4 feet below the culvert outlet, resulting in a partial barrier to migrating salmonids. The design solution included structural retrofit of the culverts using concrete baffles, and the construction of a roughened channel to aggrade the stream profile sufficiently to eliminate the passage barrier. Work included topographic mapping, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, and preparation of preliminary and final design drawings and specifications.
Client: City of St. Helena
Waterways staff worked with the City of St. Helena and a team of consultants to design, permit, and construct a multi-objective flood control and habitat restoration project, The project, constructed in 2009 and 2010, provides 100-year flood protection for residential properties along the Napa River, restores important floodplain and aquatic habitat, and improves public access. Specific elements of the project include a geomorphically-based floodplain terrace and associated shoreline restoration involving removal of an existing gabion and rip-rap bank protection structures and replacement with a natural point bar shoreline configuration, bioengineered bank stabilization structures, FEMA certified levee setbacks and floodwall construction, relocation of homes from the floodplain, and approximately 2,500 ft of pedestrian trails with interpretive signage. Design elements were incorporated into project to enhance habitat for a variety of species including salmon and steelhead, river otter, California red-legged frog, and freshwater shrimp.
Client: Town of Truckee
Over the past 150 years, Trout Creek, a tributary to the Truckee River, has been impacted by development of the downtown, the railroad, and other land uses. These impacts have resulted in channelization and realignmentof Trout Creek, upsetting natural channel processes such as bed load movement, habitat creation, hydrology, and wildlife corridors through loss of riparian habitat. Despite past efforts to “control” Trout Creek, flooding has remained a significant problem. In addition, the biological and aesthetic value of the channel was degraded.
Client: Sierra Nevada Alliance
The California Unified Watershed Assessment identified the Upper Carson River as a Category I priority watershed for water quality improvement. The Sierra Nevada Alliance, on behalf of the Alpine Watershed Group, responded by initiating the preparation of a Stream Corridor Condition Assessment for the Upper Carson River Watershed with funding from the California State Water Resources Control Board. The assessment included a fluvial geomorphic assessment, a survey of conditions in the riparian and floodplain zone, a list of prioritized restoration projects, and a recommended list of management measures. Waterways staff joined the assessment team as the project team hydrologists and geomorphologists and as the primary project team members evaluating riparian health and providing restoration project recommendations. The assessment included approximately 66 miles of stream channel within the West Fork Carson River, East Fork Carson River, Wolf Creek, and Markleeville/Hot Springs Creek.