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!.
UPDATE ON WHAT FRIENDS OF THE EAST FORK (FOEF) ACCOMPLISHED UNDER IT’S VARIOUS RIVER & LAND STEWARDSHIP PROGRAMS IN 2016
Friends of the East Fork Lewis River achieved a wide range of significant accomplishments in 2016 thanks to activity support by members, membership donations, interaction with concerned families & persons living on or near the East Fork, donation of fieldwork time by people with professional skills, the generous support of a number of private companies, and of course collaboration with state & federal agencies such as the WA Dept. F&W, Dept. of Ecology, the WA DNR, Clark County Councilors & Staffs, and the Federal Agencies including NOAA-Fisheries, EPA, US Fish & Wildlife, and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest – US Forest Service Region-6.
Plus, a number of private individuals and families stepped forward to give us key support at critical times. Fish First, Sierra Club, Wild Fish Rescue & also the Salmon Creek Fly Fishers an affiliate of the Healing Waters Veterans National Group played an important role too.
SOME SPECIFIC RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT EXAMPLES ARE THE FOLLOWING:
On the lower East Fork, re-excavated over 250 ft. of the lower section of the Swanson Chum Channel/Side-Channel to allow better access of salmon & steelhead fry as well as juveniles into the much cooler side-channel summer groundwater flow.
The deepened side-channel helps to counteract the high stream temperature conditions (sometimes even lethal), that occur in the river during summer minimum water flow levels in the lower East Fork. Stream water heating to lethal levels is primarily the result of stream bed (channel) conditions that have a high width of channel compared to a shallow depth of water stream bed condition. This is also coupled in the river channel with the loss of deep resting pools caused by extreme erosion/sedimentation rates that increased dramatically over the last 40 years. The Swanson family who are the local landowners, donated the use of & operated the excavator as well as a dump truck to move & properly store excavated material. A great help to the project was the donation of $500 by the Loo Wit Vancouver Chapter of the Sierra Club to pay for excavator and trucking fuel.
Using the Federal Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act as a means to insure pollution control compliance by activities involving storm sediment runoff from roads, mining use of nitrate based explosives that resulted in leaching into water sources, and pollution threat to tributary streams leading to the East Fork, a “Consent Decree” was reached between all parties with the help of a federal judge and our FOEF lawyers. A new road was also built and Clark County agreed to set up a staff position to better monitor and enforce state and federal water quality laws and regulations compliance & enforcement. FOEF continues to monitor the area and others to see if there is adequate protection from potential pollution related to rock mining in the Yacolt Mountain area of the East Fork and if compliance and protection results are being achieved.
Through cooperation with and generosity of a nearby land owner, the prevention of development on a highly sensitive piece of East Fork river and bank land that provided critical T&E listed steelhead spawning & pool habitat was saved from development. Development would have potentially disturbed an old identified toxic chemicals dump and degraded listed steelhead and salmon fisheries key habitat. A private family, with the skillful negotiation support from one of our FOEF volunteer lawyers, used $ 80,000 of their own money to purchase the land and protect it in perpetuity.
We continually do monitoring of Clark County Lot Development Project Applications Weekly Reports in order to engage County, State, and Federal Agencies & Staffs, when investigation indicates that the proposed site conditions and related actions pose a potential violation of Storm-water requirements, Federal Clean Water Act, or Federal Threatened & Endangered Species Act or other required permitting processes. And in particular, we investigate if the development moved forward to approval or if effective mitigation is not possible. We have found two such potential cases along the upper East Fork recently and have engaged Clark County Development Dept. on discussions of specific issues of concern. Our monitoring program of stream conditions, citizen involvement, and also our use of “GoPro” cameras to check underwater fish presence & restoration project success is another important part of our monitoring program.
Collaborated with the Salmon Creek Fly Fishers Veterans Group to do tree & shrub maintenance as well as stream bank enhancement through new shrub & Tree planting for stream temperature reduction & stream bank habitat cover along lower Manly Road Creek located off Septan Drive at the stream section opposite Clark Counties Grace Lodge facility. Included in this work, is also along the nearby salmon/steelhead spawning riffles area & upper salmon fry rearing pond.
Collaborated with the Salmon Creek Fly Fishers Veterans Group at the outlet of Manly Road Creek, to install about 210 lineal feet of spruce Christmas trees (with no needles) to function as much needed cover and predator protection of salmon & steelhead fry and juveniles. Several trips & man hours were required by work groups of 7 to 13 people. Also, we were joined by a contingency of Boy Scouts who were very talented and worked hard at getting the job done.
At the Swanson Side-channel, as follow up to the channel excavation improvements, we later installed additional bank revegetation through collaboration with the Salmon Creek Fly Fishers Veterans Group, along with very experienced assistance from the Boy Scouts. This work resulted in planting over 400 ft. of shrubs at the Swanson Side-Channel in order to help provide shade and habitat along the stream bank.
Through additional collaboration later in the summer with the Salmon Creek Fly Fishers Veterans Group, we installed about 200 ft. more of used Christmas Trees in the Swanson Side-Channel. This will provides extensive cover and predator protection to fry & juvenile salmon as well as steelhead who use the channel to escape the high summer stream temperatures (760 F degrees or more) in the lower East Fork.
Assisted the Swanson family in the design and installation of the 75 ft. long PHASE-1 of the 700 ft. plus, Swanson-Powerline Bend streambank & salmon holding pool restoration as well as gathering key hydrologic data for PHASE-2. Plantings of both trees & shrubs for PHASE-1 were donated by the Natural Recovery Nursery. A key factor in the success of PHASE-1 was the timely support of the WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and the donation and delivery of about 30 salvaged reservoir pool logs, over 25 ft. long, by Pacific Power Company. We were also able to obtain donations of technical/professional support from a geologist, hydrologist, fluvial-geomorphologist, river engineer, and a fisheries biologist.
PHASE-2 is the remaining 625 ft. of channel with the severely degraded right side (north) stream bank needing restoration—see the “PHASE-1 & 2 Aerial Photo of the Powerline Bend Project” that follows.
PHASE 1 & 2 OF SWANSON POWERLINE BEND PROJECT – 2016 AERIAL PHOTO
In addition to on the ground stream & watershed work, Friends of the East Fork has also been very active in providing information & testimony to the Clark County Councilors at their weekly Tuesday Public Board Meetings as well as being part of various committees and support groups. This also involves informing area citizens and encouraging them to provide testimony and key information on what they have observed that may be of concern in the conservation management & improvement of watersheds and streams of the East Fork Lewis River.
We are also pleased that one of our FOEF Board members (Richard Dyrland, a hydrologist) recently received the “Presidents National Award” from the American Fisheries Society for singular accomplishments and long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at the regional & local level, and for recognition of unique capacity to develop and implement projects and programs at the local, regional, and national levels. He has over 50 years of stream, watershed, and project/program/policy management & technical experience at all levels.
PROPOSED 2017 FUTURE PROJECT ACTIVITIES & PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS
Provide more timely and useful conservation information and potential action needs to our FOEF members & interested individuals, as well those directly concerned about the wide range of values the watersheds of the East Fork provide.
Provide more opportunities for FOEF Members and supporters to volunteer in support of various projects and FOEF supported activities. Also provide more opportunities for use of drones & underwater with GoPro cameras to check stream conditions and monitor restoration project results.
Increase the level & quality of programs/projects & associated collaboration with other groups and individuals as well as governmental agencies. Examples, add more “Hobo” summer temperature continuous monitoring installations in the lower East Fork; and stream habitat treatment design in upper East Fork thru support of, and collaboration with US Forest Service.
Increase collaboration with the Swanson Family to complete “PHASE-2” of the Swanson-Powerline Bend stream reach on the lower East Fork.
Do maintenance on the 940 ft. of the Swanson-Airstrip Side-channel in collaboration with the Salmon Creek Fly-fishers and other groups as well as individual volunteers.
Construct another summer “cool-water” Side-channel at an already identified key site on the lower East Fork, using mostly volunteer work & equipment contributions.
Search out and apply for new grants to help support programs and finance certain parts (materials, special equipment rentals, license fees etc.) of these non-profit volunteer efforts.
Expand the number of Board Members to better meet the Non-profit Organization objectives of Friends of the East Fork Lewis River (FOEF).
Increase the level of direct interaction with FOEF members as well as the general public, and the number of items of interest and frequency of FOEF news and information updates provided each month on our website. And, continue to regularly interact with the US Forest Service; they are responsible for the management of the watersheds/lands in the upper East Fork L. R. What they do has an effect on what happens in the lower part of the East Fork.
Continue doing “Public & Government Awareness” trips to acquaint people of the social-economic values, physical/biological attributes and overall “health” of the East Fork that is so important in helping the people of Clark County prosper and live a life of quality.
LOWER EAST FORK LEWIS RIVER PHASE-1 Nov. 2016
The East Fork Lewis River is an irreplaceable asset to the people of Clark County, WA.
It provides a wide range of diverse kinds of enjoyment to those living in Clark County and it is accessible from Vancouver in less than a half hour. It is also an important “attractor” to new companies and job seekers, as it provides personal and family amenities that few places can offer within such a short distance. The lower reaches of the river has a series of regional parks with their diversified characteristics, and farther up-river there is the more undeveloped and wild areas with numerous waterfalls and on up into the undeveloped and protected National Forest. There, one can go camping and hiking in a wild setting and watch the incredible native steelhead jump the waterfalls.
Over time, particularly the lower part of the East Fork has become degraded, much in part due to the activities of people and associated development. However, we now have an organized cooperative effort to restore many of these damaged or degraded areas back to a land corridor that will help protect the areas adjacent to the river and actually provide better experiences to those who enjoy the river. In addition, the river channel itself and the deteriorated streambanks are now part of an extensive restoration program intended to not only improve the stream condition and proper functioning of the river, but to also restore the past extensive loss of salmon and steelhead habitat.
One recently completed project this year thru the cooperation of Friends of the East Fork and the Swanson Family is the Swanson-Powerline Bend Project located on the Swanson Farm which is commonly known as the old “Day Break Feeders and Dairy Farm property.” This is a famous area for both Chinook, Coho, and Chum salmon, but also Native Steelhead. All of these are now on the Federal Threatened and Endangered listing of the East Fork L. R.
THE SWANSON-POWERLINE PROJECT:
This project is located at about river mile 7.1 on the lower end of the East Fork Lewis River — see attached reference maps and aerial photos. The project is on the north side of the channel on an “outside” bend that has been severely eroded the last 20 years (refer to 2005 aerial photo comparison to 2016) and contributes substantial amounts of sediment to pools downstream. This section or “reach” of channel has chinook and coho spawning. The East Fork provides spawning and habitat for chinook, coho, chum and steelhead salmonids, all of which are currently under Federal “T&E” listing in this stream. It holds the state record for steelhead (32 lb. 12 oz.) and is also one of the WA Dept. F&W steelhead “Legacy” streams for protecting the genetic properties of wild steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.
Aerial View of Swanson 768 Ft. Project Reach with a loss of over 30 ft. of Streambank in 8 years– July 23, 2016 Photo
Ground level view looking upstream along north bank during low stream flow just before Phase-1 treatment in Oct. 2016
PROJECT OBJECTIVES: PHASE-1 & PHASE-2
1. Phase-1 reduce the shear stress on the north stream bank to prevent more excessive loss of stream bank & riparian area.
2. In Phase-1, treat 75 ft. of stream bank to reduce bank shear stress and continued high rates of erosion and sedimentation.
3. Reduce risk of loss of adjacent access road and damage to airstrip associated with excessive bank erosion.
4. Phase-2, treat 613 ft. of north side vertical bare stream bank to replace the total loss of fish habitat along the two pools between the upper and lower riffles of this project reach.
5. Restore vegetation on bank and riparian area with trees and shrubs.
Project Status Before Restoration:
Flood damage at bend after Dec. 2015 flood of about 20,000 cfs, a 2% Chance Recurrence Frequency or a 50 yr. Flood based on USGS gage upstream.
Ground Level View of Eroded Collapsing Bend on August 27, 2016
Post Treatment Flooding (about 4000 cfs.) of bend shortly after Phase-1 of Project was finished in Oct. 2016. Note treatments slowing water velocity along bank & reducing shear stress and associated erosion and sedimentation.
Project View during declining flood flow (about 900 cfs.) on Oct. 24th, 2016 after 75 ft. of Bend Treatment.
Chinook Salmon spawning in Swanson-Powerline Bend Reach Riffles – 2015
SUPPORTING, COOPERATING, AND CONTRIBUTING PEOPLE AND ENTITIES:
Project Sponsor and Land Owners: Don and Dean Swanson Families,
excavator, other heavy equipment, equipment operation and
Lead Agency: WA Dept. Fish and Wildlife
Contributing Groups: Materials and Support Services
Pacific Power Corp. – Oregon and Washington
Friends of the East Fork Lewis River 501c3 Group
Salmon Creek Fly-Fishers – Healing Waters Veterans 501c3 Group
Volunteers: Data acquisition, analysis, designs, and installation support
Top Pacific Hydrologic Consulting – Richard Dyrland, Hydrologist
Shiori Baba – Geologist
John Farley – Data Acquisition and Logistics
Reckendorf and Associates – Dr. Frank Reckendorf,
WA Dept. Fish and Wildlife, 2001. The lower East Fork Lewis River Sub basin, “A summary of habitat conditions, salmonid distribution, and smolt production”, Report # 99-1113P
Reckendorf, Frank PhD., 2010. East Fork Lewis River (RM 13 to RM 6) Including West Daybreak Park Project Reach, “Fluvial Geomorphology and Erosion and Sedimentation Evaluation”, Reckendorf and Associates, Salem, Oregon.
Reckendorf, Frank PhD., 2016. “Tortuosity Effects on Eroding River Banks,”
Presentation at the Society for Ecological Restoration, NW Region Symposium, 2016.
APPENDIX: Supporting Data & Information
Don Swanson, Permittee 360-263-3637
Richard Dyrland, Hydrologist 360-887-0866