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- Mason/Monchamp Pit River - Shaw Pit River
- Rose Creek Putah Creek
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- Winters Park
Lassen Creek Restoration Project (Modoc County, CA)
The Lassen Creek Project has been in the works for over two years. Implementation started in August of 2005 and is expected to be completed by October. This project is based on “pond-and-plug” restoration technique designed to return stream flow to a more natural elevation, meander, and bankfull capacity so that the stream regains its historic interaction with the floodplain.
This method is commonly applied to incised stream channels where adequate floodplain is available to relocate the “design” channel. On Lassen Creek, the channel had been altered by irrigation ditches and past management practices that had severe impacts to the morphology of the channel.
As one of the key tributaries for Goose Lake redband trout, Lassen Creek was a top priority for action by the Goose Lake RCD and CA DFG. A plan was developed by StreamWise in 2003 and implemented in 2005. The plan included relocation of the stream from the irrigation ditch and incised channel to a constructed design channel in the center of the meadow. Extensive revegetation was conducted to promote stability in the first season of flow. The gully and irrigation channels were filled to floodplain elevation by excavating a series of ponds along the gully.
The project is designed to:
restore groundwater hydrology to the meadow
improve fish habitat and passage
reduce water temperature by reducing stream width
enhance the riparian corridor vegetation
reduce lateral erosion and downstream sediment transport
2009 Update To be honest, Lassen Creek has been the site of our most difficult challenges in restoring natural form and function to meadow stream channels. Most of the initial project construction performed well, but heavy winter flows dislodged fresh sod mats that lined much of the design channel. Our assessment indicated that the sod had not rooted into the banks, Also, the channel substrate in these reaches was not coarse enough to resist erosion during major flood events. The flood events that caused the damage occurred just two months after the channel construction.
The repair work has held up well after two seasons with periodic overbank flow. The entire project now has access to the floodplain at bankfull flow levels. The borrow ponds remain partially filled in summer due to the increase in groundwater surface elevation. Riparian recovery is underway and the pond edges are beginning to naturalize with native vegetation.
Lassen Creek provides invaluable lessons regarding application of pond and plug techniques for restoration of mountain meadow ecosystems. StreamWise continues to monitor the effectiveness of the original project construction and the repair work required to insure long-term stability and recovery of the project site.
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