Salt Creek at River Mile 3.0

When: In progress (2021)
Where: Salt Creek, a tributary of Little Butte Creek

Objective: Objective 1: 15.1 acres of riparian (stream-side) rehabilitation protected by 2.5 miles of riparian fence that is wildlife-friendly and stewardship efforts for at least five years. Objective 2: 30 strategic large wood placement locations on one mile of creek using over 190 logs

GOALS: Restoration actions will provide the necessary ecological components to improve water quality, stream process, and aquatic and terrestrial habitats that build a resilient ecosystem and robust fish, plant, and animal populations.

CONTRACTORS: Strauss Ecological Services, Four Elements Forestry, Black Dog Archaeology  

PROJECT MAPS

SUMMARY

Salt Creek is a small stream that meets Little Butte Creek nine miles east of Eagle Point, and despite its size, it maintains a steady flow of cool water throughout the summer, making it a very good place for cold-water fish like trout and salmon to rear. Salt Creek is located nine miles east of Eagle Point and enters Little Butte Creek at river mile (RM) 14. The basin drains 17.2 square miles and the creek is eight miles long with a few named tributaries. Current land use is primarily livestock grazing, forest management, and rotational crops. Salt Creek is one of the few remaining cooler water creeks, particularly at the project location, that directly drains into Little Butte Creek, and is recognized as an important tributary that contributes towards maintaining and recovering native anadromous and resident fish populations. Rogue River Watershed Council (RRWC) and partners have been removing the seven Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife high priority fish passage barriers in Salt Creek for the last six years, and RRWC is anticipated removing the last two this summer.

 

Salt Creek riparian area post invasive plant species treatment.

The proposed project is located on one of the private properties where two of these barriers were removed in 2020. For this project, RRWC will treat one mile of stream channel, both banks of riparian forest, and include multiple ecological restoration actions: large wood placement at 30 strategic locations with 190 key logs, riparian forest rehabilitation of 15.1 acres that includes stewardship for five years, and the riparian forest protected from livestock grazing with 2.5 miles of wildlife-friendly fence on both banks of the creek. The goal of this project is to provide the necessary ecological components in the form of improved water quality, stream processes, and aquatic and terrestrial habitats that build a resilient ecosystem and robust native fish and wildlife populations. This project is part of a comprehensive restoration strategy in Little Butte Creek and the greater Upper Rogue Basin. The strategy equally focuses on providing public awareness about the importance of ecosystem services, the protection of source drinking water, and support of the economy and livelihood for all Rogue Valley citizens.

Strauss Ecological Services and Four Elements Forestry have been treating the 15.1 acres of riparian rehabilitation using integrated pest management practices to help recover native plant communities, primarily focused on suppressing noxious weeds like Armenian (Himalayan) blackberry and poison hemlock. Additional efforts to encourage native plant survival will be included in future stewardship at the site. 

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

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, in-kind large wood donation from the C2 Cattle Company landowner, Wild Salmon Center (NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center) (pending), and Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund (pending), in-kind permitting from Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.