New Year Bankfull Flows

As I end the day by gazing at a big full winter moon in the sky, I think to myself what a wonderful, cold, yet sun-shiny post-flood day I got to spend outside.  Since December, 2009 I have spent most Christmas holiday breaks watching the weather, precipitation gauges, and stream gauges anticipating high river flows for the stream sites we’ve restored.  This often brings feelings of excitement and anticipation… and perhaps a little anxiety as I wait to see how Mother Nature will respond to our attempt to restore the right dimension, pattern, and profile to the river.  On December 21st, 2013 one short day after completing Phase one’s construction, Clinton received a large amount of rain on already saturated soils and our project was put to the test.  This holiday break proves to be no less exciting than last years!

After loading up the family this sunny and frigid morning and heading north, I knew it was the perfect time to visit the Archey project.  Mr. Steve Bone, after checking the rain gauge onsite, let me know that after 3.5 days of rain we received 8.04 inches in total!  Looking at the South Fork Little Red River gauge, it was on the falling limb of a very large spike in flow – almost 10,000 cfs!  I couldn’t wait to check game cameras, take pictures, and see it for myself.  The clouds cleared and I was able to take great pictures and video of all our structures under high flow.  I couldn’t be more pleased with our results, so I raced back to my computer to download the footage and get it posted ASAP….

First, you can view this short clip of construction of the toewood structure in Phase II ending with the flood event of January 2-3, 2015.  You will notice the water rose almost up to bankfull elevation and well above the toewood structure onto the transplants on the first bench.  One of our cameras upstream even went under water!

Finally, check out these photos taken today on the falling side of the flood starting from upstream in Phase I, going all the way through 5 riffles and 3 pools to the downstream end of Phase II.  Notice all the great riffle boulder habitat that creates the large waves, perfect for boating, during high flows.  This also happens to make great habitat for the Yellowcheek darter and many other riffle obligate fish!

As we wrap up our work on Phase 2 of the project, you’ll be sure to see more of our construction footage and subsequent floods.  To complete this year’s work, we are teaming with the City to remove the invasive species Chinese Privet that has taken over much of the park area.  We will replace that area with large hardwood tree transplants from other areas of the river corridor.  This will insure the long-term stability of the stream banks once the larger tree roots take hold.  We are also helping to layout the additional walking trail that allow people to walk the entire restoration project and see the good work that’s been done from upstream to down!  Feel free to pose questions and/or comments on the project here on our weblog!  Thanks for your continued support and interest!

– Joy