Latah Soil and Water Conservation District

Completed Project - Corral Creek - Passage Barrier Removal Project Summary

Completed Project - Corral Creek - Passage Barrier Removal Project Summary

Project Title

Corral Creek Wetland and Riparian Restoration: Passage Barrier Removal Project

 

Project Type

Steelhead Habitat Restoration

 

Project Location

Corral Creek, a tributary of the Potlatch River, in Latah County, Idaho

 

Watershed Information and Limiting Factors

Corral Creek subwatershed is 14,300 acres, approximately 4 percent of the Potlatch River Watershed, and includes predominantly forested and canyon stream types. Corral Creek supports spawning and rearing habitat for ESA-listed threatened steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).  Limiting factors include: high water temperature, high flashy stream flows, low summer base flows, lack of complexity in stream composition, migration barriers, and sedimentation (Resource Planning Unlimited 2007).

 

Ownership of Project Site

Public land, surrounded by private land

 

Project Supporters

Landowner (Idaho Department of Lands) and adjacent private landowners

Bonneville Power Administration

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service / Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Salmon Initiative

Idaho Office of Species Conservation / Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality / EPA Clean Water Act Funding

Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission

 

Project Description

Problem:  Migration barrier. Steelhead trout (ESA-listed threatened) have been blocked from access to the upper Corral Creek watershed since 1913. Improvement and expansion of habitat for steelhead is a high priority in the Potlatch River watershed, with removal of barriers ranking the highest priority in many watersheds (Ecovista 2003, Resource Planning Unlimited 2007). The barrier on Corral Creek, a 200-foot long concrete box culvert within a 67-foot high embankment, was installed to support a main rail line used to transport logs and lumber. Because of the smooth surface and the length of the run through the culvert, the velocity of the flow blocked upstream passage for spawning steelhead. As a consequence, the upper 75 percent of the watershed, and about 15 miles of 4th order stream habitat was inaccessible to steelhead for spawning and rearing for nearly 100 years.

Solution:  Remove migration barrier. Provide spawning steelhead trout access to the upper watershed and, consequently, also expand rearing habitat by removing the culvert. Construction started in September 2007, following removal of the timber on the embankment and construction of a road segment through the adjacent private land for access to the west side of the site. Earth fill (50,000 cubic yards) was removed and placed at two locations along the abandoned rail line. The culvert was removed and a new channel was constructed. Willow whips (1,000) were inserted into soil burritos that lined about 25 percent of the newly-excavated channel banks. The new floodplain, fill disposal areas, and terraces were seeded and mulched (370 pounds native seed). Erosion control material (90,000 square feet) was applied to the terraced slopes. Construction was completed by early November 2007. From 2007 through 2012, over 24,000 containerized plants and whips were planted in order to establish vegetation on the new floodplain, all cut slopes, and the fill disposal areas. Game fencing was installed to protect the plants on the floodplain and lower terraces from wildlife depredation. Livestock fencing was installed to exclude cattle from the construction area, the adjacent meadow, and riparian areas to enhance restoration of the native plant community. Photopoints were established to document vegetative changes (Latah SWCD 2013).

 

Status: Completed

Removal of the passage barrier and initial revegetation/stabilization was completed in November 2007.  In August 2008, the first year following removal of the passage barrier, juvenile steelhead trout were detected during fish surveys in Smith Meadows, several stream miles upstream of the former barrier (Bowersox pers comm). The major revegetation work was completed in 2008 and 2009, with supplemental plantings continuing through 2012. Monitoring of site conditions will continue, including survival monitoring and photo point monitoring to detect change in vegetation over time.  Problems with plant survival or soil erosion will be treated in 2013 through 2016.

 

 

References

 

Bowersox, Brett, Regional Fisheries Biologist with Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 2008 pers comm.

 

Ecovista. 2003. Clearwater Subbasin Assessment. Prepared for Nez Perce Tribe Watershed Division, in cooperation with the Clearwater Policy Advisory Committee. www.nwcouncil.org

 

Latah SWCD (Latah Soil and Water Conservation District). 2013. Monitoring Plan and Procedures, Draft.  Moscow, ID.

 

Resource Planning Unlimited. 2007.  Potlatch River Watershed Management Plan. Sponsored by Latah Soil and Water Conservation District. Moscow, ID.  www.latahsoil.org/id50.html

Summary prepared by Trish Heekin, Resource Conservation Planner, Latah Soil and Water Conservation District, 2014

Latah Soil and Water Conservation District
Gritman Medical Park (Federal Building)
220 East 5th Street, Suite 208
Moscow, Idaho 83843
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