Episode 26: Stream Restoration

Transcript

From the Oregon State University's Extension Service, you are listening to In the Woods with the Forestry and Natural Resources Program. This podcast aims to show the voices of researchers, land managers, and members of the public interested in telling the story how woodlands provide more than just trees.

They provide interconnectedness that is essential to your daily life. Stick around to discover a new topic related to forests on each episode. Hi everyone, my name is Steve Fitzgerald. I'm an extension silviculture specialist and director of the, uh, College of Forestry Research Forest. And welcome to this segment of, uh, our In the Woods podcast.

And today's, uh, topic is stream restoration. I'm out on our Ramsdell track, which is near Molalla Oregon, and we have a stream enhancement project occuring on Woodcock Creek, which flows through our property. Well, I'm here with, uh, Brent Klumph uh, Brent, uh, can you, uh, tell us a little bit about yourself and then let's talk about this stream project.

So, I'm Brent Klumph I'm the Forest Manager for the OSU Research Forest. Uh, I'm an OSU grad and, um, raising two boys there in Sweet Home. So give us some details about this project. The how, when, where, why kind of thing. Yeah. So we are on our, uh, Ramsdell forest, which is outside Molalla, uh, in Clackamas County. Uh, and through the middle of our Ramsdell forest, we have Woodcock Creek that flows through here.

And we are working, uh, in consultation with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, uh, on a large wood placement into the stream to help provide, uh, salmonid habitat. So you're putting wood, I assume, large wood into the stream. And what, what will that do to enhance the habitat for our fish, uh, on this forest?

So we have, uh, 15 different locations within that half mile reach, uh, where we're gonna be placing between four to six logs per installation. And some of the logs have root balls still attached to them from a, a wind throw event that we had and other logs don't have the root ball attached. And when you place those four to six logs, uh, partially into the stream and partially anchored into, uh, the riparian area, which is that... Or the stream bank?

Yep, or the stream bank, kind of pinched between trees. What it does is it slows down flow, uh, it helps recruit spawning gravel. Uh, it provides, uh, high water refuge for fish and ultimately, uh, we're anticipating that we'll have, uh, salmonid and salmon up here as well. So do they just kind of just throw the logs in there and hope for the best, or is it thought out?

Is it engineered? Or what's the kind of process? So they are, they are not just thrown in. Uh, it takes a little bit of planning, uh, definitely planning on where you source the logs as well as how those logs are placed. Uh, and so you're really trying to use the topography and the ground that uh, riparian area in Woodcock Creek allows to figure out how to get these root, uh, these log placements in a position where they're not going to move during high winter flows, and they're going to provide those other objectives that you're trying to reach.

Recruitment of spawning gravel, slowing down flow during winter storms, winter events, et cetera. So we're standing here in front of a deck with a lot of wood. Now, you mentioned logs with root balls attached and then others don't. So, a root ball is just that root wad. Is there a reason why the root ball is... we want trees with root balls in place?

Yeah, so the, the root ball, uh, when in, or the root wad when it's attached to, uh, the log kind of acts as an anchor, like a boat. Uh, in that you've got this big, heavy, kind of bulky looking, uh, kind of like a Medusa head almost that when that is positioned in a spot, it's really hard to un or to get it to move during high winter flows.

So it kind of like helps anchor things together? It is an anchor. Yeah. Uh, in that you can use that as the anchor and then use other logs to help pinch it and hold it in place. And that just creates that, uh, kinda locking mechanism. Got it. As those logs are, it's kinda like pick up sticks a little bit and how they're placed through them.

Yeah, got it. So you're working in a stream, in a riparian area, there's water flowing. Um, a person just can't go and just do that anytime. Is there regulations? Permits? You know, what does, what does it take? What's the planning process for this? So, it's a, a big open ended question. Uh, for the planning standpoint, we've been planning this project for the last couple years.

There is through Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. There is the in water work window, which is the timeframe for when you're allowed to be able to put, to put equipment into that riparian area, move logs and stuff around in the stream because you're creating turbidity.

Uh, and that is the in water work window. And for us it's June 15th is the start date through September 15th or August 1st, or October 1st, I'm not exactly sure. So that's the traditional low water flow. Is that? So, yeah. So traditionally that is when, uh, summer flows are at their lowest, uh, which is when impact is usually at its least.

Uh, we would not want to be out here during the middle of winter. Uh, with high winter flows, really heavy soil saturation, moving equipment around in through there. It's gonna create a, create much more of a mess. So, um, who signs off on this? Do you have to do some type of, um, a permitting system for this to be allowed?

So, yes. Uh, there is a permit system. Uh, we applied for a permit, uh, through Oregon Department of Forestry, and it's a notice of operations with a written plan addressing what you're going to do and how you're going to protect the different resources. And we had Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that have partnered with us on this project.

And, uh, Oregon Department of Forestry signed off on our permit, uh, pretty quickly. Wow, that's great. So you have 15 different kind of log placements that are gonna go in Woodcock Creek and you've got equipment and an operator. Um, what's, when you think about what, what, what's the total cost? And maybe you could break it down into different segments.

Sure. So there is the, the cost to actually physically place the logs into the stream with, uh, equipment and a contractor. Uh, and that is, we put that out to bid, and that's right at $19,000. There's actually, most people don't quite think of it this way, but there's the value of the logs that you could have shipped to the mill.

And how many I, I'm, you know, we're standing here in front of a very large log deck, um, and you have three or four of these decks. We've got, uh, three, three of these log decks. In total, we have just over a hundred pieces. Uh, and so a root ball with a log, that's one piece. Two logs is two pieces.

So we've got about a hundred pieces that are gonna go in. So what's the value of those logs? Uh, it's right about 35 to $40,000. It's, it's, uh, they're, they're valuable logs. Uh, most of them are Douglas fir. There is a few Western red cedar, uh, that is also extremely valuable. Uh, but from a university in a research forest standpoint, these are costs that we're willing to incur and we, we pay for those costs.

We pay for the contractor to come in. Uh, these are costs that we're willing to, to absorb. Uh, in the interest of managing for multiple uses. So the total cost you would ballpark it at, at what? I think total cost, including, you know, like time, staff time is probably right in that 70 to $75,000 total.

So, you know, in thinking about the creek, you know, that's a, that's a really an ecological investment to enhance the productivity of that stream. It is, and it is an investment. And Woodcock Creek as a whole is going through, uh, there's a lot of restoration work that's happening off of the research forest as we head downstream on other landowners as well.

Uh, Port Blakeley has some project they're gonna do next year. The county has some work that they're doing as well. So we're just one landowner in kind of the, the cog of the, of the Woodcock Creek ownership. Uh, and our hope is that with all these other landowners collaborating, that the ecosystem as a whole will be better once they're completed.

So the Ramsdell Track, I know we use it for extension type programs, and today you brought some students out from, um, that work on the research forest, but also our students in the College of Forestry. Um, what do you think they get out of it? I think for them, uh, they get to see another aspect of managing a forest.

Uh, and we've got students that came out here that are in forest engineering, forest operations, forest management, recreation, resource management, natural resources. So it's a pretty wide and broad, uh, diverse group. And so being able to see a lot of different aspects, how to interact with other agencies, the Oregon Department Forestry, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, uh, opportunities to interact with contractors and maybe see an aspect that they haven't been exposed to before.

That might pique their interest for a future job. We just met with ODF and W and as we were driving up the road, I had one of my students trying to figure out how do you get into that type of job. Yeah, yeah. I can see where this type of work would be really appealing, um, as a career, you know, cuz you're doing habitat restoration and improvement. You know, it makes you feel good, I think, at the end of the day.

Yeah, I think these types of projects, I really enjoy these types of projects and I do, I think these ones are really rewarding. Uh, they are a valuable, valuable job and, uh, yeah. Great.

So here we listen to Brent Klumph, OSU Forest Manager, asking Dave Stewart, who's the ODF and W habitat biologist, what's the real point of all this, uh, stream work?

Uh, what's the point? The point, the point of this? Yeah, it's good. I mean, again, these could be as long as you want in, in these answers, but, uh, we were just talking about this yesterday because we're putting the wood in and you look at some of the work we're doing here, right? Some damage, some, some impacts.

But, you know, we're essentially creating habitat for salmonids. These are all ESA listed. And, uh, so that's, that's the point that I think that's the short term fix. The longer term fix is that, you know, the forest is big enough that naturally these logs fall into the creek. And they create habitat. So that's, that's kind of goal.

But right now we're just, we're putting logs in right now to give these fish some habitat cover, spawning habitat. You can imagine, kind of what we're doing mostly here is we're putting the structures in, like here, you can see this, there's a little island. We're creating an apex jam. So we're gonna put a, the structure like this, maybe a couple other logs.

And what that creates is it continues to create the off channel habitat, which is like the number one thing that salmon need. Salmonids, they, they love, so side channels, alcoves, all that habitat. So that's what we're. So anywhere where I find a little side channel old historic side channel, um, I'm always trying to think, okay, how do we reconnect that?

And uh, and part of it is you can imagine, you know, when it's, you see the street and now it's low, right? But at flood stage or higher winter, it floods out in here, right? Yep. Potentially. So we're building it, getting ready for the, the next big flood event. So this year if we get a good, whatever, you know, five year event or a 50 year event, it's gonna bring the water up and it's gonna push it out a little bit.

And then naturally habitat's gonna be created around these structures. So when you look at this, sometimes you look, you're like, well, what is it doing? It kind of maybe looks like it's just we're putting wood in, but you gotta think longer term. These things are gonna be here for, you know, 10, 20, 30 years as they kind of decompose.

And hopefully, you know, some of these bigger trees are gonna naturally fall on top as, as the forest just matures. And so that's, that's the short, the short answer to what we're doing. I've been really curious, I know last week or maybe the week before you did a snorkel survey out through here. Yeah.

To see what it what's actually out there. Exactly. Yeah. And so that goes back to the longer story about this whole thing because we never, we try not to do one off projects. So this project isn't just, I mean, when I first came here I thought this is a great opportunity, OSU, research, students, um, you know, some education along with benefiting fish.

But it's not just this site we're doing some work with Port Blakely down stream. There's a county, if you go across, um, Grim Road on your way back, that's a county project, which is like $800,000. So there's a lot of money being spent even in smaller basins like this. So the idea is that we fix the passage barriers, we get fish back into these areas, provide the habitat so they're ready to go when they get here.

So what I found was I found cutthroat and, and steelhead essentially. Great. And so, you know, there weren't, there wasn't a ton of numbers, but every single pool I snorkeled there were fish. Great. So that's a good sign. Potentially longer term, um, the other kind of, you know, unique thing here is that we are in the upper Willamette.

So we're above Willamette Falls. So technically there aren't any coho uh, ESA listed fish, right? Because historically there weren't coho above the falls. Since we put a ladder in, now there are coho. Oh. Right, so we actually, and so that's one of those things with ODFW where do we consider those wild fish?

There's a question for your natural resource folks. Yep. Are these wild fish that potentially could be here? Or do we actually want these coho in here because the ESA listed fish are steelhead and chinook, spring chinook, right? So it's that. But point for us is we don't really care. We build the habitat and whatever fish come back naturally that's, that's what we're going for.

Kinda like field of dreams of like that's the hope. If you can build it they will come. Pretty much. We get that a lot. Yeah, I mean that's, that's it. So it's a, I mean, for me it's just fun being out here and these, I'm like a, I'm not an engineer, I'm a biologist, but I've seen a lot of habitats, so I'm always trying to. If you ever go to a stream, and I always say, if you can walk up it like you're walking in the park, there's something missing, right?

You want this thing to be messy. You want the stream to bounce around in logs everywhere. To move. To move, yeah. You want that stream. You can imagine. So the streams . Doing naturally streams can only do two things with their energy, right? This is the geomorphology. Um, and that's why you see they could either down cut, that's why you see waterfalls, they're dissipating energy, or they go side to side.

So when you're in the steep canyons, you don't see the channel doing this because it can't. So it just keeps creating waterfalls to dissipate. But here, naturally in these meandering streams, they, they want to do this. And the problem is we've straightened channels, you know, go, go downstream and look at the agriculture.

A lot of those channels, those streams used to do like this, but we've moved the channel over the side so we can have an ag field and that's part of the problem. So, uh, I have a question. So, how long have you been doing the this habitat restoration and roughly on your career, how many projects have you done and where?

Yeah, so, so roughly 10 and 10. So the first 10 years of my career, I was doing research with the Corvallis Lab. So we were actually doing all the surveys. So I was leading crews doing that. And then the second half I got into the restoration. So I moved over from the Tillamook area over to the Clackamas office, and on and off I've been doing this work.

I worked with ODOT for a little bit, so I've done some other few things, but. So how many projects over that 10 year period that, that you've done, would you think? That's that's a good question, I mean, if you just look, again, the ones that I've done versus the ones where I'm actually on site not managing, but there, and then there's others where we're just providing technical assistance and we've got passage project.

You know, good example is we've got a project down the lower, um, Pudding River, where we've got a lot of fish passage funding to do projects. But um, we've got an AG landowner who has a water right. So he takes water outta the stream. But the problem is there's a big dam right in the middle of the creek that's a complete barrier, right?

No fish ladder. So we told him, "Hey, how about this?" We'll figure out a way this solution for this, you need this water. So we're finding a way to build an actual well. This is real, real unique, thinking about kinda outside the box, right? You don't think about that. We're trying to get some funding to actually build the well, because if we can build the well, give him the water.

Now, he doesn't care to take out the dam. Yeah. So we got a lot of those projects. The city of Abiqua is on, or the city of Silverton on Abiqua has a huge dam. So all those things. I, you know, to answer your questions, it's, it's a tough one. I mean, I think hundreds, right? Hundreds of projects. Wow, that's great.

There's been, uh, you know, what's the number, like billions of dollars spent on salmon restoration. So we've spent, you know, tens of millions of dollars. Uh, so you've been at this a while. Yeah. And so how has your thinking about placement change from when you first started to now, you know, have you go back and monitor and watch and go "Well, that didn't work." But, you know, I love that question. Yeah, I mean, I can remember when I first was thinking about going from research into this and I studied behind, uh, Dave, uh, Plowman, who was out of Tillamook you know, it's kind of cool. The family stuff is also really cool because there's a lot of connections over the years, but Dave Plowman was the stream restoration biologist in Tillamook.

I was doing research and I asked Dave, "Hey, can I walk along with you and see what you're doing?" And a couple things Dave told me were same things I do today, right? Where is wood naturally, you know, kind of accruing and, or, you know, falling in the stream. Let's add more. Let's beef it up. Uh, where are the side channels. So, I'm still doing all that.

The, the next level that I've done is sometimes work in the city. There's a lot more engineering design. So you see that we're actually here is nice because we can put logs in. We're okay if they move around a little bit or even if maybe a log slides a little bit. But if you're in Portland, these things are locked in.

So I've learned a lot about that and I've learned that there's times when projects I can do on my own and there's projects where I'm calling and spending extra money for a consultant to come design it and have it stamped engineered. Got it. Got it. That's the probably the biggest thing I've learned is like there's, I know my limitations. Yeah. Great.

Okay, so we're out here, uh, doing some stream improvement work and you are the guy, you are the main man doing this work. Tell us your name, your background, um, company, and how long you've been doing this. Uh, my name is Walker Trask and my background is, uh, I went to OSU. I took a lot of forestry classes because I was really interested in it, but I ended up graduating with a degree in psychology.

Uh, but through family ties, uh, I started kind of in this habitat restoration, uh, area and I started when I was 15 doing salmon stream surveys for, uh, bio surveys. Oh, wow. Great. And I did that for three years and then my brother and I started doing this habitat restoration company, Trask Design and Construction.

And we have been working from Astoria to pretty much Ashland from the coast, you know, to the mountain range, and have worked on most watersheds at this point, uh, over the last 14 years. Wow. So you said you got a degree in psychology. So do you find this is therapy for you out here? You know, it is sometimes, but it's not always that way.

There's a lot of stress and deadlines. You know, it's, it's definitely work, but... Right with the deadlines. A lot of it is really enjoyable. Especially, you know, walking the streams and like you guys were talking about earlier, seeing the aftermath of the projects that you put in, like dam removals or culvert reinstallation or these log projects.

Just one of my favorite things is coming back to a log project after a flood event and seeing all the chaos that's created in the stream, you know, that natural chaos. But that chaos is habitat. Yeah, that chaos is habitat. Habitat building. That's great. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I thought maybe, uh, here we could, uh, kind of observe some of the work and, uh, watch you, uh, place these logs.

Is, is there, I know between you and Dave I know there's a strategy. You might, just before we get going, just talk about you're thinking or how you actually place these logs in so that they don't just sluice out, but they're actually locked in. Yeah, it all, that strategy is really stream dependent and topography dependent.

And in this case, I think Dave's idea is he's trying to collect, um, debris in the stream and get some of this creek to kick out onto natural or historic flood planes. Uh, you can see around here we have some low terraces. As these log jams collect debris and build a better dam, they're gonna move that water up onto those terraces and create new side channels and fill old side channels.

But in other streams, you know, oftentimes you're trying to collect bed load to hold gravel for salmon spawning. So you will do your log jam slightly differently. You're wanting more contact with the, you know, the substrate. Um, but then the other thing that we do is try to make sure that none of these logs are gonna be careening downstream and smashing into a culvert or something like that.

So that's kind of a secondary, uh, goal that you're working on all the time, is making sure that the logs are pinched between other living trees or slightly buried. Sometimes we'll do that. Um, a lot of it is about weight and ballast weight, putting logs on top of each other so that they have enough, you know, downward force to keep from floating or moving around in the stream.

Good, all right, well, let's, uh, well, let's see you do your work. All right.

Okay, so what he's doing here is he's grabbing this log that's about 25 feet long and, uh, carefully placing it in the stream. And it takes a little bit of finesse to do this, uh, and to arrange these logs in a way that they'll, um, be jammed together and hold together in, in high flows.

So I'm also here with, uh, Jen Gorski. Uh, Jen had, uh, an important part in, in this stream restoration project. Jen, can you give me, uh, a little bit of your background and, um, and really the impetus for this project? Hi, I'm Jen Gorski and I used to work for OSU Extension Forestry in Clackamas County and got so excited about forestry that I went on to do a Master's at OSU and I studied Woodcock Creek.

So for your master's project, uh, you said you studied Woodcock Creek. So what, what was the kind of main part of your thesis? I was to write, uh, Forest Management Alternatives, uh, for managing the riparian area in one of OSU's uh, research forest. So let's take a, a deeper dive on your Master's project. So you were looking at management alternatives on Woodcock Creek, but you know what, what specifically did the work that you did, uh, for your master's, um, in Woodcock Creek. What, what was the work that you did?

Um, well I started out with, uh, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's protocols for the aquatic habitat inventory. And I did, uh, three day training, uh, where I learned how to use the instruments in ways that would measure physical stream characteristics of any stream of actually, uh, wadeable stream.

And so, uh, we ended up measuring bankfull width, the width of a stream that the, the height of the stream that would be achieved every, every one and a half years. Um, and then... So, so did you, um, so, so did you put plots in and what kind of measurements did you take besides, besides the bankfull width.

Okay, well, what we did was we broke the stream into habitat units, things like riffles, uh, pools, um, glides, and we measured... So glides. So what just, uh, for, for our audience, what's a glide? A glide is, uh, pretty still, um, section of the stream that doesn't have any, uh, rippling or any white water. It's just, uh, very still, but still achieving, uh, down it, it's still achieving the down river flow.

Okay, all right. So yeah, so tell us more. Okay, and so we ended up measuring like the depths of the pools, um, the lengths of the habitat units. We measured, we went on to the stream and we measured the, um, terraces and the flood plane widths as well. Which at this particular forest, it's Ramsdell forest, the flood plane is really unusual and unique characteristics.

All of these old historical, uh, river, river beds are embedded, um, along a really, really wide, uh, flood plane. So you were surveying the stream and all its factors, pools, riffles, glides, and bankfull width. What about the vegetation, both the under story and the, the trees? What did you, what did you find there? Well first within the aquatic habitat inventory, we did what was called these metrics.

Every, uh, every 20 or 30 habitat units along the stream. And so we went out of the stream at GPS locations and then we, uh, surveyed the vegetation kind of in a general way. But then I coupled that with vegetation plots that were modeled after the Bureau of Land Management Density Management Studies, and in these vegetation plots we delineate, or we did, um, tree plots, um, in quarter acre, uh, circular, um, circular areas.

And within those plots, we measured all of the trees, the heights, and the diameters of the trees. Like canopy cover and all that kind of stuff? Like canopy cover and, um, and crown ratio, uh, to find out how vigorous the trees were and health of the tree.

Um, and, uh, a little bit on defect as well. And, um, so then within those quarter acre plots. Oh, and so those are big plots. So how many of those quarter acre plots did you have along the, well, it's about a half a mile of Woodcock Creek. Correct, yeah. Actually 0.6 miles of Woodcock Creek. And so, um, we did, I believe I did 12, uh, 12 of those vegetation plots.

Um, but then within the quarter acre plots we did 0.05 acres where we looked at all of the different herbacious vegetation as well as the other vegetation and the, uh, type of coverage there was so that you could find out, hmm, are these plants good, uh, in wetland areas and you know, different data about the herbacious plants.

So this stream restoration project that, um, that we're doing here on Woodcock Creek, you know, we're placing wood back into the stream, but, um, in your initial plots, did you find much large wood up and down the Woodcock Creek? Good question. Uh, within that aquatic habitat inventory, we actually went through and we measured all of the wood of a certain size and, you know, it was the larger wood.

So we measured the pieces, the number of pieces of wood, of a certain size. And, uh, how many, how many there were in log jams. And one of the characteristics of Woodcock Creek is that it had these really long, straight stretches, which is, uh, lends itself to fast moving water. And that's not so great for fish and wildlife.

Also, what we measured, all of the pools, the depths of the pools, how many there were. That was one of the habitat units, and we found that the pools were very shallow compared to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's reference sites that accommodated very good fish habitat. And also on the large wood that we found we were sorely lacking in Woodcock Creek compared to what the ODFW found for their reference sections of good, uh, fish habitat.

So you mentioned, uh, ODF and W has like reference conditions. Um, what is, what does that mean? Reference conditions are based on, uh, areas that, that ODFW have identified as having good fish habitat with minimal, uh, human encroachment. And so what they do is they have identified these areas in multiple locations and so this is, this provides, uh, quantitative parameters for, to which you can measure the characteristics of your own stream and find out what exactly do I need to add to this stream to make it good fish habitat.

So maybe to kind of summarize that, so if you compare Woodcock Creek to the reference conditions, what is Woodcock Creek lacking? Woodcock Creek needs more large wood collections all in one area. Like a wood jam, like a log jam, uh, which is basically a number of pieces of wood that are at least 16 inches in diameter across the creek.

And what it's also lacking is depth of water. When you think about the water temperatures that fish need, they, they like it cold and uh, you get cold water in the middle of the summer at the lower parts of the pools. That's where the fish congregate. So, that's what we needed to make Woodcock Creek more, um, hospitable to, uh, fish habitat.

And the other aspect of this too is that Woodcock Creek is a, uh, is a smaller stream, but it's very close to the Molalla River, which is, uh, of a stream that accommodates salmon, bull trout, and steelhead and also lamprey eel. And so, because Woodcock Creek is right next to the Molalla River, when we did the, when I did the mapping for that, uh, and then also when I looked what was down river, we looked, I looked at what was, uh, through the Woodcock Creek watershed.

You have to look up river and down river to find out, um, if there's fish barriers. And, uh, where does the wood, where does Woodcut Creek flow into? So, after you did all this, this work, uh, I know that you teamed up with, uh, Dave Stewart, who's the habitat biologist on this project and on this podcast.

And you, I think, went out and located, uh, potential places for log jams. And how did, how did that go? Tell us a little bit about that process. Well, first I was acquainted with, uh, Dave Stewart because he is the fish biologist that does a lot of the work, uh, for ODFW in Clackamas County. And he has a lot of experience in, uh, placement of these logs, uh, to make these log jams on streams to create good, uh, fish habitat.

So I invited Dave out to meet me and look at Woodcock Creek, and he thought that it had, without even looking at all of the data, he thought it had great potential, uh, for fish habitat because of its proximity to the Molalla River. And so we planned a day where we went out and we located 12 to 15 locations on Woodcock Creek that looked like they would make great places for log placement.

And some of the things that we looked at, which was very interesting to learn from Dave, uh, was that we're looking for, uh, broad flood plain areas in some cases where there was a little wood that was already collecting and in other places where we could easily place... where we could easily place large wood and, uh, so that they would span, uh, the creek and be in the creek.

And the idea was to create, um, pools to slow the water down, to make the water divert around the obstacle of the large wood jams, and then to create pools and deeper pools. And so we flagged and we GPS'd the locations, uh, that could be potentially great sites to do that.

So you marked all these spots for, for the wood placement to create these log jams and you've been out here today, uh, watching, uh, the operator put those logs in. How do you think it's looking? It is better than I ever imagined it could be, uh, because I went through and I looked at all of the other, uh, log placements, uh, there's more areas that have logs in them. The logs are all jammed together.

Logs that have root wads, uh, where the part of the root is still attached, which, which makes the log really heavy. And so then that adds stability to a collection of logs, and I can see that the water is slowing down. The water's getting diverted around these logs. And then I know that in time there'll be gravel that collects in those areas that will be good for fish habitat. And I know that the pools are gonna get deeper. So better than I could ever have imagined. And also, uh, what was done was some of the old historic river beds where there was water that was still flowing in those areas, at the connection with the main part of Woodcock Creek, they put in large wood in, in there too.

So that what happens when there's a, a high water event that additional pools, um, will form and additional connections will be made to Woodcock Creek. So, Jen, you did all this work for your masters, um, and, uh, I know that, you know, you, you, uh, wrote a professional paper, had, um, put together some alternatives.

How does it make you feel to see a project like this, uh, taking place and know that it, it started with your work? Well, of course, as you can imagine, it feels absolutely wonderful because, uh, I think because, um, other people saw the merit of the project, the data supported that it would be a good place to put money for restoration.

The data supported that, and so other, other, um, people were able to recognize that as well. And then to be able to see it put into action in a timely way, it is immensely satisfying because now I know that this is actually just one of several watershed projects on Woodcock Creek to enhance the fish habitat there.

And so because these projects are going, there's about three other projects that are going. So it's a total watershed enhancement. And so we know that this is going to be really good. Uh, we know it's gonna be really good habitat for, for the fish. And so of course that's very satisfying. That's great.

That's that's awesome. Really.

Well, this concludes another episode of the In the Woods podcast series. Thank you all for listening, and don't forget to subscribe.

In the Woods was created by Lauren Grand, Jacob Putney, Carrie Berger, Jason O'Brien and Stephen Fitzgerald, who are all members of the Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension team. Episodes are edited and produced by Kellan Soriano. Music for In the Woods was composed by Jeffrey Hino and graphic design was created by Christina Friehauf.

We hope you enjoyed the episode and we can't wait to talk to you again next month, until then what's in your woods?

In this episode, Stephen Fitzgerald visits Woodcock Creek to interview multiple people involved in restoring and enhancing its natural habitat.

Interviewees:

  • Brent Klumph - Forest Manager at OSU Research Forests
  • Dave Stewart - ODFW Habitat Biologist
  • Walker Trask - Trask Design and Construction
  • Jennifer Gorski - Former OSU Forestry Extension Member / Studied Woodcock Creek

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