Foster Creek Conservation District
Foster Creek Conservation District

Stream Restoration in Action on Foster Creek

Big things have been happening this year on Foster Creek near Bridgeport. FCCD installed 22 wood structures and 9 rock structures and partners, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Anabranch Solutions, put in 60 wood structures. Wood structures consisted of post-assisted Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) and other Post-Assisted Log Structures (PALS). Rock structures consisted of modified Zeedyck structures built from a base of 2 to 3- foot-wide boulders with smaller rock packed around the base to form check dams and armoring structures. All these structures have a similar purpose which is to slow water, prevent erosion, and create ponding water to help form beaver habitat. If beavers move into the area, they can maintain the wood structures and create new ones as part of their lifecycle. In this way, the system becomes self-sustaining over time.
Foster Creek suffers from poor water quality, seasonally dry streambeds, excessive erosion, and lack of riparian plant diversity. Steelhead spawn in the lower regions of the creek but cannot complete their lifecycle due to excessive heat and inconsistent water flows. Stream restoration aims to provide more shade to cool and slow the water so that it flows more consistently throughout the year. Future monitoring of these structures will reveal how effective they are at achieving these goals. FCCD and other partners have plans for many future projects; actions that could change the story of the Foster Creek steelhead will include planting trees to provide the riparian vegetation a good foundation to cool the stream, prevent erosion, and improve wildlife habitat.

Special thanks to the WA Dept. of Ecology and the WA State Conservation Commission for funding this article.

FCCD crew along with WCC crew working on installing PALS on Foster Creek during summer 2021.
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Foster Creek Conservation District 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858 509-888-6372 © Foster Creek CD