Process-based riverscape restoration
Whychus Creek, Oregon
Process-Based Riverscape Restoration in Whychus Creek, Oregon
This project is a low-tech process-based (LTPBR) restoration design for a 0.7 - mile section of Whychus Creek, a tributary to the upper Deschutes river in Jefferson and Deschutes Counties. The restoration design for the Willow Springs Preserve was developed following low-tech process-based restoration (LTPBR) principles (see Wheaton et al. 2019). LTPBR utilizes simple, cost-effective, hand-built structures that mimic beaver dams (i.e., beaver dam analogs, BDAs) and wood accumulations (i.e., post-assisted log structures, PALS), structural elements that occur in abundance within functioning stream systems. These structural elements are strategically introduced to the river system using a design intended to amplify natural hydrologic, geomorphic, and biological processes that accelerate the recovery trajectory of degraded streams. Unlike more traditional practices that rely on engineering plans and heavy construction equipment (e.g., excavators) to impose channel and floodplain restoration designs, LTPBR ultimately defers design decisions to the characteristics and limitations set by individual riverscapes. Reducing design and implementation costs and allowing natural stream processes to do much of the restoration “work” minimizes economic and ecological risks associated with stream restoration implementation. Ultimately, the restoration design is intended to invoke a more resilient riverscape capable of maintaining a diverse and self-sustaining set of fluvial and riparian processes that benefit an abundance of aquatic and terrestrial fish and wildlife species.
PROJECT Pictures & Videos
Click on the pictures below for captions.
Phase 1: implementation
Amazing fly over of the phase 1 LTPBR treatment at Willow Springs completed in late July of 2022. This project exemplifies LTPBR restoration practices, and really shows what can be accomplished by a well trained restoration crew. This first treatment represents > 2000 posts, > 1000 pieces of LWD, and > 100 low-tech structures. Built by hand without damaging existing fragile riparian areas, in-channel habitat, and vegetation.
Weber N, Wheaton JM. and Allen K. 2020. Willow Springs Restoration Design: Process-Based Riverscape Restoration in Whychus Creek, Oregon. Prepared by: Anabranch Solutions and Aequinox. Prepared for: Upper Deschutes Watershed Council. Bend, Oregon.