Lost Creek Floodplain Restoration
The Middle Fork Willamette Watershed extends from the alpine areas of Diamond Peak and Waldo Lake down to the valley floor in Springfield, Oregon. The Middle Fork watershed is a unique and diverse system of geologic history, hydrology, natural environments and human communities.
The confluence of Lost Creek with the Middle Fork Willamette is just downstream from Dexter Dam, the first in a series of three large dams on the river. Lost Creek is a high priority restoration area within the watershed because it is one of only two undammed tributaries, providing Chinook salmon and bull trout an escape from the big water of the mainstem and access to better spawning grounds.
This project of the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council located in Elijah Bristow State Park builds upon long-term restoration along Lost Creek. The Council has worked for many years to restore riparian habitat on public and private land by removing invasive species along the streambanks and planting native riparian vegetation. The native vegetation provides better shade, keeping the water cool for fish, as well as habitat for all kinds of terrestrial and avian species.
In addition to planting native species, the Council is focused on restoring floodplain processes at the confluence of Lost Creek and the Middle Fork Willamette River by removing human-built features that have channelized the river, regrading the floodplain and building large wood jams. These actions will spread and slow water flow, increase water storage and groundwater recharge, and provide essential habitat to a diverse suite of native aquatic, terrestrial and avian species.
The project provides the Council with the funds necessary to work in the floodplain as well as to respond to opportunities to transport and stage species-appropriate-wood that is donated when salvage cuts are made due to storm, hazard, or other natural processes. In-stream log placement mimics historic hydrology, creating side channeling and pooling that provides critical salmonid habitat.
Elijah Bristow State Park is an 850-acre public recreation site in close proximity to the city of Eugene, the third largest metro area in Oregon, and a center of culture and recreation. An estimated one-fifth of park users are persons with disabilities (primarily mobility-related). This project enhances wildlife viewing and creates recreation opportunities for all.
* Project restores natural hydrologic conditions to facilitate improved capture and infiltration of surface water and groundwater recharge