Elk Creek River Mile 5.6

When: In progress
Where: Elk Creek, a major tributary of the upper Rogue River

Objective: An in-stream and stream-side restoration project to improve water quality, enhance fish habitat, and increase native plant diversity

An aerial view of the downstream portion of the project site

Historic management activities in the area behind the now-incomplete Elk Creek Dam have resulted in largescale modifications to Elk Creek’s mainstem channel, as well as its side-channels, floodplain, and tributaries. Streams had been channelized, large wood had been removed from the active stream channel, riparian forests had been cleared, and riparian areas had been heavily grazed by livestock. Aquatic habitat conditions had become degraded, especially rearing habitat for juvenile salmonids.

We placed 170-plus large logs in three side-channels at 23 locations and engineered one side-channel reconnection in the summer of 2020. We also mechanically removed blackberry and other invasive weed species on approximately 30 acres within the project area. We will be planting native trees and shrubs in the project area and installing livestock exclusion fencing along the riparian area of this 0.7-mile-long project site.

A side-channel prior to the installation of large wood
The same side-channel after the installation of large wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our actions will result in the reconnection of Elk Creek to its floodplain, increased inundation of off-channel habitats, and the creation of complex habitat in three side-channels – all leading to improved rearing conditions for juvenile salmonids and improved habitat for a number of fish and wildlife species.

 

This project would not have been possible without the funding and support from the following:

Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management (Medford District), Hancock Forest Management, Medford Water Commission, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest