24 Sep

WHAT HAVE WE GOTTEN DONE IN RECENT YEARS DESPITE THE MANY CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES TO MAKING LONG-TERM PROGRESS IN RESTORATION OF THE EAST FORK LEWIS RIVER AND THE FOUR SPECIES OF SALMON AND STEELHEAD THAT MAKE THIS RIVER SO INCREDIBLE FOR FISHING AND PEOPLE RECREATION?

This year we have had climate related very low water flows which were a major factor in causing sever stream temperature problems. Flow got down into the low 40s cubic feet per second (cfs) and several days of stream temperatures between 76 F and 80 F recorded in the lower East Fork. That along with the lack of deep pools and adequate cover for fish, makes it difficult for salmon and steelhead fry and juveniles to survive for the later migration to the ocean, with the goal to have them return as adults 3 years later.

In response to this evolving crisis that started in 2014 and worsened in 2015, we built 2 spring fed cool water side channels, one 300 ft. long and another 520 ft. long in the lower East Fork. In addition we enhanced the fish predator protection in an existing 600 ft. side channel that flows directly into the East Fork. It already had a large population of juvenile salmon using this section of stream channel for rearing habitat.

The best part of our efforts, particularly on the critical summer period of 2015, is that we got immediate results and were able to document it with cameras and underwater video equipment.

Side-Channel Fry and Juveniles

Fish Predator Protection and Cover For Rearing Channel
Salmon and Steelhead Fry Using New Side-channel Nutrients and Predator Cover

 

Side-Channel Cover Being Installed
Side-Channel Cover Being Installed

 

EAST FORK LEWIS RIVER SYSTEM – 10 YEARS PLUS PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS COMPLETED OR IN PROGRESS

DONE THRU THE COLLABORATION AND AFFILIATION OF FRIENDS OF THE EAST FORK, SALMON CREEK FLYFISHERS/HEALING WATERS, AND FISH FIRST, WITH SUPPORT FROM WA DEPT. F&W, NOAA-FISHERIES, AND CLARK COUNTY

FISH HABITAT PROTECTION AND RESTORATION PROJECTS AS OF SEPT. 23, 2015

1. Sunset Campground – Shoreline land purchase to protect steelhead habitat
2. Upper East Fork – US Forest Service Steelhead habitat enhancement Phase-1
3. Upper East Fork – US Forest Service Steelhead habitat enhancement Phase-2
4. Rock Creek North – Side channel
5. Lower East Fork – Grenfells/Lewisville Park spawning beds and rearing pool
6. Lower East Fork – West Daybreak side channel
7. Lower Manly Road Creek Rebuild and culvert replacement
8. Lower Manly Road Creek Rearing Pool-1 – Habitat enhancement, Christmas Trees
9. Lower Manly Road Creek Rearing Pool-2 – Habitat enhancement, Christmas Trees
10. Lewis River Ridge – Side channel
11. Dean Creek – Flow control
12. Lower East Fork – Swanson tree nursery
13. Lower East Fork – Chum channel Phase-1
14. Lower East Fork – Chum channel Phase-2
15. Lower East Fork Stream Bank – Chum channel protection root wads
16. Lower East Fork Chum Channel – Solar aerator oxygen system installed
17. Lower East Fork – Swanson cottonwood grove-airstrip side channel
18. Mason Creek – Swanson cross-vanes and rearing pools by Heightman Creek
19. Mason Creek – Lower Mason Creek root-wad installation and pool creation

OTHER FISHERIES HABITAT AND WATERSHED PROTECTION AND IMPROVEMENT ACTIONS IN COLLABORATION WITH FISH FIRST

20. Dean Creek – Federal Clean Water Act lawsuit to stop gravel mining pollution of East Fork and resulting “Consent Decree” agreement
21. East Fork – Daybreak Pit expansion federal court lawsuit to protect ground-water at Daybreak Pit expansion.
22. East Fork-Yacolt Mountain – Federal Clean Water Act lawsuit to protect East Fork from quarry tributary stream and East Fork pollution resulting in a “Consent Decree” agreement
23. Support from Natural Recovery Nursery (Bill Berry) to supply trees, plants, and shrubs
24. Lower East Fork – Nutrient enhancement with fish carcasses
25. Lower East Fork – Stream temperature and flow levels monitoring with HoBo recorders
26. Restoration Plan for West Daybreak stream bank at steelhead holding river reach
27. Restoration Plan for Swanson Powerline Bend eroded stream bank restoration
28. Collaboration and cooperation with WA F&W and Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board

Note: Does not include other habitat restoration, improvement, or land acquisition projects done by Clark County itself.

 

– Dick Dyrland

Friends of the East Fork and Clark and Salmon Creek Fly Fishers and Fish First