LOWER EAST FORK LEWIS RIVER – LANDS AND STREAM PROJECTS UPDATE
Swanson-Powerline Bend Streambank and Fish Habitat Restoration Upstream of La Center, WA
The Powerline Bend project is designed to stabilize an 800 ft. section of the river that lost over 35 ft. of streambank in the last 3 years, along with causing severe sedimentation to key salmon holding pools and spawning sites downstream. The project includes upper and lower riffles used for spawning by salmon and 2 very deep pools where adult salmon hold and where salmon and steelhead fry can use “stacked log complex” treatments. The road adjacent to the project washed out during a major flood last year, it was also rebuilt.
This is the most recent project in a series of 3 instream projects to rebuild this side of the river, which has been extensively degraded at an increasing rate over the last 15 yrs. This project was all done with donated materials, equipment, equipment operators, design, and supervision. Approximate cost value of the project was about $140,000. Friends of the East Fork, Swanson Family, Colf Construction, CADMAN Sand and Gravel, Pacificorp Power, Healing Waters Veterans, Clark Cons. and WA Dept. of FandW teamed up and got the project done.
Preproject Extreme Bank Erosion and Tree Loss
Excessive Gravel Bedload Sediment Buildup – Bi-Modal Bar
Logs Being Placed in Stream Bank Slots
Installed Stacked Log Complex Treatments
The project reach has been monitored over time for presence of fish. We use “GoPro” underwater cameras, summer low flow continuous “HoBo” temperature recording units, and now a professional licensed drone pilot/owner has flown the project and will donate more flights over the coming year to provide video documentation. At this time, between Fish First and Friends of the East Fork, we have done a mixture of 38 small and large projects between Lewisville Park and La Center, WA. This included work on Mason Creek, Rock Creek North, Manly Road Creek, and Lockwood Creek. There were also 2 steelhead fish habitat projects done in the upper East Fork in cooperation with the US Forest Service. And, we also collaborate with Dave Brown-Wild Fish Rescue that raises about 35,000 rescued steelhead and salmon each year. Volunteers as well as members are encouraged to help out.
Powerline Bend Project Photos taken with a Drone
Recently, Oct. 2017, a flood of 11,000 cfs. (Heission USGS Gage) occurred after the project was built. Normal “bankfull” flooding is about 5,300 cfs in this reach of the East Fork. There was very little bank erosion and the project stood up well from this flood event.
Treatments Move Thread Line of Stream Energy Away From Streambank
Time For Battery Change and Then Back To Flying More Video Again
WORKING TOGETHER, WHAT HAS FRIENDS OF THE EAST FORK DONE SINCE 1998 FOR RIVER & LAND CONSERVATION/STEWARDSHIP ON THE EAST FORK LEWIS RIVER?
SUMMARY OF PROJECTS DONE BY OR IN COLLABORATION WITH OTHERS:
Over a period of 18 years Friends of the East Fork & Fish First have collaborated with the Lower Columbia Fish Recover Board, Clark County, WA Dept. F&W, NOAA Fisheries, Bonneville Power, Dave Brown Wild Fish Rescue, Healing Waters Veterans/Salmon Creek Chapter, Boy Scouts, Sierra Club, US Forest Service and citizen volunteers as well as others, to do 36 fish habitat & stream/watershed restoration projects on the East Fork of the Lewis River. In addition, we worked with Fish First to do over 6 miles of stream restoration on Cedar Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Lewis River. Also, in 2016 we received the American Fisheries Society Presidents Award for outstanding long-term work to improve streams & fisheries.
We have been very fortunate in that we were able to draw additional highly experienced scientific/technical assistance from regionally & nationally known stream & watershed scientists such as Drs. Frank Reckendorf, Barry Southerland, Luna Leopold of US Geological Service international fame, and many others.
With the apparent downturn in salmon & steelhead populations in the Pacific NW, it is all the more important that everyone improves the level, timing, & amount of communication & coordination with Friends of the East Fork regarding proposed land conservation & fish habitat restoration work on the East Fork L. R. This is urgently needed with some departments in Clark County Government and particularly with Legacy Lands & Parks/Recreation. And, we can always use more volunteers to contact us to help out on weekends, or just come out and see what we are doing.
LISTING OF PROJECTS SINCE 1998:
• Lockwood Creek Culvert replacement
• Programmatic Blanket Fisheries Restoration National Permit from NOAAO Fisheries-Lewis River System
• Lower East Fork L. R. Stream Condition Assessment & Plan
• East Fork Lewis River – Swanson & WD F&W Chum Spawning Channel
• Swanson Air Strip Side-channel
• Lockwood Creek Check Dam Series Improvement
• East Fork Lewis River – Swanson & WA Dept. F&W Chum Channel
• Manly Road Creek Upper Pond & Channel Rebuilt
• Nutrient Enhancement – Lower East Fork L. R. Ongoing Since 1999
• Mason Creek Pool & Heightman Creek Development
• Gren Fels Drive East Fork L. R. Tributary Steelhead Habitat Restoration
• North Rock Creek Side Channel Installation
• Mason Creek Middle Channel Reach Restoration
• Bonneville Power – Swanson East Fork Bend Restoration
• Bonneville Power – Swanson Chum Channel Expansion
• Bonneville Power & WA Dept. F&W – Chum Fry Release Cooperative Program Swanson Chum Channel
• Chum Channel Oxygen-Aeriation System Installation
• Mason Creek Pool Cross-Log Habitat Upgrade
• Manly Road Creek Lower Pool Christmas Tree Fish Habitat Installation
• Mason Creek Tractor Bridge Channel & Fish Habitat Improvement
• Manly Road Creek Upper Pool Christmas Tree Fish Habitat Installation
• Swanson – Lower Chum Channel Christmas Tree Installation & Tree/Shrub Planting
• Mason Creek Pool Christmas Tree Fish Habitat Installation
• Manly Road Creek – Clark County America Corp. Beaver Deceiver Installations
• Lewis River Ridge – Clark County Maintenance Yards Side Channel
• Upper East Fork Steelhead Habitat Enhancement – US Forest Service & Friends of the East Fork
• PHASE-1 Swanson-Powerline Bend Fish Habitat Restoration
• West Daybreak & Clark County Side Channel WD Phase-1
NON-HABITAT PROJECTS OR ACTIONS COMPLETED:
• Upper Dean Creek Conservation Easement Agreement
• Sunset Campground-Upper East Fork Conservation Easement
• Dean Creek-Storedahl Federal Clean Water Act Consent Decree
• Yacolt Mountain Quarry Storedahl Federal Clean Water Act Consent Decree
• Ridgefield Pits Habitat Conservation Plan (HPA) Revision
• East Fork Main Channel & Side-channel Continuous Recorder Temperature Monitoring June-Oct. each year.
NEW PROJECTS – 2017:
• PHASE-2 of Swanson-Powerline Bend Fish Habitat Restoration
• MONITORING of PAST PROJECTS – GoPro Underwater Camera & Drone Monitoring by Air
CONTACT US IF YOU WISH TO HELP OUT ON A PROJECT OR SEEK CERTAIN TYPES OF VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES.
Richard Dyrland, Project Design & Construction Hydrologist, Board of Directors Fish First & Friends of the East Fork L. R.
27511 NE 29th Ave., Ridgefield WA 98642
DEEP POOL CREATED ON LOWER EAST FORK BY SWANSON STREAM HABITAT PROJECT IN 2010 IS PRODUCING RESULTS IN 2017 FOR SALMON FRY REARING
A “Stacked Log Complex” stream bank and fish habitat treatment was installed in 2010 on the north bank of the EAST FORK LEWIS RIVER as a component of the overall WA Fish and Wildlife and Bonneville Power, Swanson Chum Channel upgrade located about 3 miles above La Center, WA. Recent monitoring shows it is producing the results it was designed for.
7-23-2016 Air Photo – Swanson Stacked Log Complex Location on Lower East Fork L. R.
Previously, in 2007, flooding caused the riverbank at this bend of the river to severely erode and a group of large ash trees were washed away leaving a shallow streambed and bare streambank.
The structure design used, included a unique anchoring system, is one that has been used in the past to treat a specific type of problem where the river channel characteristics fit this kind of treatment. The almost immediate results were that the severely eroded bank was revegetated, the eroded overflow channel revegetated, and erosion on and sedimentation from that bend of the river was greatly reduced.
The Dean Swanson family, with collaboration from Friends of the East Fork and the local Healing Waters Veterans Group, have monitored and maintained the treatment as well as part of the overall Chum Channel project and program. Each year, the WA F&W puts between 90,000 to 130,000 chum fry into this special Chum Channel.
In May of this year, with the assistance of a guide and boat provided by the Salmon Creek Fly-fishers-Healing Waters Veterans Group, we floated the lower East Fork and took water depth measurements (using a survey rod and electronics) at key places in the river, including the channel at the Stacked Log Complex. The pool depth in the lower third and off the end of the log complex ranged from 4ft. to 7ft. The river water flow at that time was relatively low at about 460 cfs. (USGS Heission Gage).
In 2016, Friends of the East Fork purchased a GoPro underwater video camera to use for monitoring the lower East Fork river channel, and specifically the existing fish habitat, as well as other previously installed fish habitat treatments in the lower East Fork.
On June 7, 2017 we used the GoPro camera to look into the water under the lower end of the Swanson Stacked Log Complex. The purpose was to see if it was providing fish habitat and if there were any salmon fry or juveniles using the Log Complex. Photos of the Stacked Log Complex and the under-water views of the fish recorded by the GoPro camera are shown below.
In the video below, you will see quite a few small fish (salmon fry) and some larger fish that appear to be some kind of non-salmon (sucker or other species of non-game fish).
Below are 2017 GoPro Camera Video Capture Clips of Salmon Fry Using Swanson Stacked Log Complex
We also found salmon fry and juvenile fish using the pools at the new Phase-1 Swanson Powerline Bend river bank and fish habitat treatment structures, which was done in the summer of last year (2016). The intent is to install Phase-2 this summer in order to complete the fish habitat restoration and erosion protection at this upper bend of the river which is just above the Stacked Log Complex.
Busy Summer of Stream Work Already Underway on East Fork Lewis River!
Friends of the East Fork (FOEF), with collaboration from Healing Waters Veterans, Boy Scouts, and individual volunteers have already started doing land and water habitat restoration and maintenance conservation work on the East Fork.
Earlier this spring we assisted WA Fish and Wildlife in the loading of about 130,000 chum salmon fry into the Swanson Chum Channel on the lower East Fork. This is part of a multi-year program under Bonneville Power to restore chum salmon in the Columbia River System.
Additional plantings of Osier trees and bushes were done on the Swanson Side-channel which provides cold water refuge for small salmon during the hot summer water temperatures. Instream Christmas Trees were also added for cover late last fall.
Follow-up plantings of more Osier trees was also done at the log and root-wad fish habitat in-stream treatments at the Swanson-Powerline River Bend.
On lower Manly Road Creek near Grace Lodge, in cooperation with FOEF and Clark County, the Boy Scouts removed about 700 ft. of blackberry growth, and then planted Osier trees and snowberry bushes that were donated to us by the Natural Reproduction Nursery. Dave Brown of Wild Fish Rescue also showed the scouts how he rescues stranded fish that are about to die, and then puts them back into the stream when the rainy season returns.
The two salmon and steelhead pools we maintain on lower Manly Road Creek were also maintained and there was salmon spawning in the riffles just above the pools. These are major fish (fry and juveniles) rearing pools that we created in conjunction with Fish First over 12 years ago. They empty into the East Fork just a few hundred feet below. Visitors to Daybreak Park can walk downstream from the Fisherman’s parking lot and visit the area.
Using GoPro cameras, the FOEF volunteer field team has also been taking underwater video of our stream projects and various deep pools to see if and how many salmon and steelhead fry and juvenile fish we have using these sites in the lower East Fork.
Another new effort about to get underway with the assistance of volunteers from the Salmon Creek Fly-fishers chapter of the Healing Waters Veterans Group is to fly various areas of the lower East For with Drones, in order to observe our projects from a new view as well as investigate potential new project sites.
And, of course the summer brings on need for various kinds of project maintenance as well as data gathering for new projects either already identified or for those to be developed. Volunteers to help in the field to gather data and to record data are always welcome – JUST CONTACT US!.