Spring on the Waterville Plateau is a time when many things shake off the snow and get to work. When it comes to rivers and streams, the snow retreats to reveal they have been working all winter long. In May and October 2021, FCCD installed 29 structures on a 1.1-mile section of Lower East Foster Creek to improve water quality by trapping suspended sediments, forcing the water to pond behind the structures and, in places, the stream to re-meander.These structures didn’t see much action during the low flows of summer and fall.
In a stream filled with snow over the winter and early spring, these structures were put to the test during snow melt. A quick walk along Foster Creek brought views of Beaver Dam Analogs, Post-Assisted Log Structures, and One Rock Dams saturated with cool, clear water. As the water continues to move through these structures, it will drop sediment and create ponds. Some of the structures may breach and cause the stream to meander, which is not a bad thing. This method of Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration uses the power of the stream to create positive changes in the waterway.Throughout the hotter months, these structures are expected to retain water and allow for sustained riparian plant growth. In the fall, FCCD will come back to plant native trees and shrubs to help kick-start the development of a healthy riparian plant community. Stay tuned for more updates on stream restoration in the Foster Creek Watershed! We have a special thanks to the WA Dept. of Ecology and the WA State Conservation Commission for funding this article.