Phase I restoration efforts continue to amaze us. After a couple of big rains and a bankfull event (just a short 4 months after construction was finished), our structures are maintaining and performing wonderfully. As with any stream restoration project, the river will make its final touches in order to settle in with the new alterations. Needless to say, we like what we see. The toewood is holding strong, protecting the banks from further erosion as water flows around the bend. Point bars are building on the inside of the bends as water deposits gravel and sand in lower velocities. The boulders in our riffles have settled in nicely with small scour holes around them creating refuge for fishes and aquatic insects. It all looks great!
Toewood and j-hook structures give immediate protection to the stream banks as trees and grasses have the chance to recolonize and serve as the long-term protection tool against any future stream instability. The roots from these plants protect the banks from erosion even after our structures are gone. The survival of these transplanted trees is key to our restoration efforts. It is always a concern that uprooting shrubs and trees and replanting them will cause too much stress, and the plant may not survive. This project was particularly interesting because we were able to use trees from the immediate restoration site that were already accustomed to the soil, temperatures, amount of sunlight, and rainfall that occur on the banks of Archey Fork. We are seeing a lot of growth from both the transplants and live stakes; however, to ensure their survival throughout the summer, our crew has installed a small irrigation system. If there is a drought, these birch, willow, alder, and sycamore trees won’t have to go through additional stress.
Thanks for checking in on Phase I. We’ll be gearing up for Phase II before you know it!