KES performed all environmental work, which included: design of a new 1500’ long new stream channel, wetland/pond enhancement, wetland delineations and reports, all local, state, and federal environmental permitting, including the Biological Evaluation (BE).
In addition to the wetland mitigation, Mark Reed Hospital restored and relocated McDonald Creek. The old McDonald Creek was channelized between 85-100 years ago and is highly degraded. The old channel was 1016 LF, 4’ Bank Full Width (BFW) on average, was 2’ deep on average, had only 4 pieces of LWD in the channel, was approximately 4,064 ft2 and the total current volume of the stream was approximately 8,128 cubic feet. The old channel went through several concrete chutes and several 4’ concrete culverts. The Riparian area for the old channel was heavily disturbed. The upper 1/3 of the stream only has one row of trees on the west side. On the east side in the northeast corner of the property, the riparian area would be considered of medium-low quality and health. There are many large Douglas fir trees in the northeast corner of the property and for the most part there will be very few trees removed for the construction of the hospital in this area. The lower 2/3 of the old channel did not have any real riparian buffer area. In this area the old channel runs through an open field (old parking lot) and goes through several 4’ concrete culverts. The large Douglas fir trees to the east were logged in July and August of 2011.
Prior to construction of the new channel, fish were removed from the old channel. There were 28 cutthroat removed and several hundred sculpin. All fish and any crayfish were placed downstream of the project area.
The newly restored channel was started on August 23, 2011 and was completed on September 30, 2011. It is 1450 LF, 12’ BFW, is a minimum 4’ depth (with the exception of the pools), 16,200 ft2 and the volume is 64,790 cubic feet. This increased the overall size of the stream by 440%. The new channel has 19 pools that are 1-2’ in depth below the streambed, 10-15’ in length, are spaced approximately 63’ apart and 60 pieces large woody debris (LWD) were placed in the stream and a minimum 6” deep 12’ minus streambed gravel was installed the entire 1450 LF of the new channel (approximately 800-850 cubic yards). The gradient for the stream is varying between 1.5%-0.5%. There was one new Contech multiplate arch culvert/bridge installed. The culvert has a 20’11” span and 35’ long. The average slopes are 2:1 with top of bank to top of bank 28’.
Both Ponds B and C were dug out and made deeper. Over the years the ponds have filed with sediment, severely reducing flood storage capacity. Pond B was made bigger on the western side by 15’ x 75’ and deepened to 10 feet. Pond C was made bigger by 15’ x 120’ on the northern side and was deepened to 8’-10’.
A Pump Rite M-L65 intake was installed in pool #10 which provides water to Pond B. This intake meets NOAA requirements. Two catch-basins and an 8” pipe were installed in conjunction with the intake. A waterfall rock outlet was installed from pond B to the new channel. The outlet structure does not allow for any fish passage to occur. This will allow Pond B to possibly be used for recreational fishing or other such community events in the future.
A 2x’ x 2’ channel was constructed from Pond C to the new stream channel. This new channel will allow for fish access into Pond C. The new channel to Pond C will provide overwintering habitat for salmonids and cutthroat. The 2’ x 2’ channel maintains a high pond level, and should flow during the winter and storm events.
The upper ¼ of the stream was requested by the Stream ID Team to simply be restored with minimal trees to be removed. The channel was widened to 12’, pools were installed, LWD was installed, and streambed gravels were installed. Three trees were removed to provide access for the equipment to restore the channel.
By adding length, BFW, streambed gravel, pools and LWD (channel diversity) has increased the flood storage capacity for the stream and will help reduce flooding downstream. Within two hours of McDonald Creek being released into its new channel, there were cutthroat and sculpin moving up into the new channel.
Areas of the stream restoration in which changes to the design were made, 1) A substitution of approximately 20 Maple, Alder and Black cottonwood trees were used in place of the originally planned conifer trees. 2) At the Main Street Culvert pool, a set of three smaller logs were substituted for one large tree on the bottom row. This was reviewed by the City of Elma officials who did not find issue with the substitution. 3) Due to a large deciduous tree in the immediate vicinity, a leaf trap cover was placed over the intake for Pond B to prevent it from clogging and allow for ease of future maintenance. The owner will monitor for proper function to ensure the water flow is not being inhibited. 4) In the area that the new stream channel crosses over the soon to be abandoned utilities, the grade of the new channel was decreased above and steepened below to ensure the utilities were not compromised by the new channel until such time they can be completely abandoned.
Both sides of the new channel will be planted with native riparian vegetation during the fall of 2012. The total riparian area to be replanted is approximately 3.30 acres (139,400 ft2). Riparian plantings will include: Douglas fir, Western red Cedar, Hooker willow, snowberry, and Red osier dogwood. Conifer will be planted 10’ on center and shrubs will be planted 3’ on center. The willows and dogwoods will be planted at 30 degrees at the 12’BFW edge. Deer and vole protection will be provided to all riparian plantings. All riparian plants will be water for 3 years. Willow stakes will be planted in bundles of 3 and will be 8’ long, with 5’ buried. The red osier dogwoods stakes will also be planted 8’ long with 5’ buried. Smaller stock will be used at the outer edge of the riparian area, while large stock will be planted closer to the stream. The conifers will be tied down to prevent wind damage. Once the stream crosses into the open field more conifers will be planted on the western side to the toe of the slope. The buffer for the stream according EUDC is 50 feet, the 28 feet top of bank to top of bank slopes (4’ slopes minimum) will be replanted plus and a minimum of 41 feet on either side of the channel, from the top of the bank will be replanted. The total riparian area to be replanted is approximately 3.30 acres (139,400 ft2).
Since the riparian plantings will not be taking place until the fall of 2012 a minimum of 4” tree debris mulch was placed on the new stream banks to prevent erosion and sedimentation from taking place.
KES’s, volunteers and the stream team performed fish removal on August 21, 2011. All of the volunteers worked very hard and did a tremendous job!
Construction on the new stream channel started on August 23, 2011! Rognlins did a wonderful job and things moved fast. By Friday August 26, 2011, all of the new channel that occurs out in the field was completed. The new pools and LWD will be installed through this section of new stream channel starting the week of August 29, 2011. The new stream channel was completed and open for business on September 19, 2011. Two hours after we turned the pumps off, we had clean flowing water and cutthroat already moving into the new channel!
The new McDonald Creek channel is officially open for business. There are lots of cutthroat and sculpins moving into the new channel and they are very happy with their new home. Rognlins did a wonderful job! KES is very grateful to Mark Reed Hospital for letting me be a part of such a great project. This project is a great for the community and the environment.
The new channel held up great through the first winter. As expected with any new stream channel cut through virgin ground, there were some changes within the channel. The new stream channel is expected to change over time as with any natural stream channel. Since this is a new channel it is going to need to find its’ equilibrium and meanders. The stream channel changes that are going on right now need to happen to stabilize the channel.
The Grays Harbor Streamteam led by Jarred Figlar Barnes both in the fall/winter of 2010 and 2011, planted spawning pairs of Coho. During the fall/winter of 2011 there were 14 redds observed in the new channel. In the spring of 2012, thousands of Coho fry were observed in the new stream reach.