Our Oregon Creek restoration project was completed September 2019, on-time and under-budget. Approximately 1,400 linear feet of new stream channel and 4 acres of new floodplain were constructed in addition to the installation of 8 machine-made, off-stream beaver dams. These manmade beaver dams, or “detention ridges”, span the floodplains length, functioning to catch sediment, and slow and store water. They will also enhance the habitat for amphibians, insects, song birds, and more. A slew of other treatments were built into the project to enhance the stream’s function and habitat such as dug-out pools, bank stabilizing structures, riffle crests, and willow trenches.
The lower reach of Oregon Creek was impacted by historic gold and silver mining in the late 1800’s, leaving it pinned against large placer piles (river cobbles and sediment dug out from the channel bed and stacked next to the stream). These piles of rock confined the channel to a straight, incised, and fast-moving stream. The stream was unable to overtop its banks and spread out onto its adjacent floodplain during the spring runoff or high flow events. Due to the disconnection between the stream and its floodplain, the ability for the stream to store clean, cold water was lost. The mining impacts also left impaired fish and wildlife habitat. This project fixed all of Oregon Creek’s alignments in the lower reach, allowing the stream to access its floodplain and naturally store water for the first time in over 150 years!
Constructed stream channel: 1,370 linear feet
Constructed “detention ridges”: 492 linear feet
Floodplain willow trenches: 1,010 linear feet (5,050 willows)
Wood habitat structures: 7
Habitat pools: 24
Constructed floodplain: 4 acres