PDF version: Armstrong_Creek_2013_review
The Armstrong Creek Restoration Project
Elkhead Creek sub-watershed (above)
Partners: United States Forest Service, Trout Unlimited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Routt County Conservation District, Yampa-White-Green Basin Roundtable, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Shell, Tri-State Power and Generation, City of Craig, Colorado River Water Conservation District
January 22, 2014: Summary
We had a successful 2013 restoration season! The lower reach of Armstrong Creek—1.5 miles in length—was completed in September, 2013. We constructed 400 feet of new channel and created within the existing channel 350 feet of reconstructed and improved floodplain. We’ve included some before and after photos to show the restoration process.
We also completed all our fencing for both upper and lower reaches, better preparing us for the construction process on the upper reach. Three separate sections of fence were constructed.
Figure 1. Map of the project site. Restoration of sites in the lower reach (left side of figure) was completed in 2013 as were the exclosure fences around all sites. The restoration design for the upper reach was initiated in 2013 and will be finalized shortly.
Figure 2, Site 3, Before (looking downstream)
Notice the wide channel, erosion and lack of woody vegetation on the streambanks, as well as lack of cover and complexity.
Figure 3, Site 3, After (looking upstream)
An improved and reconstructed floodplain using rootwads, willow plantings and sodmats was created to narrow the channel and create deep, complex habitat for native fish. The eroding slope was stabilized by lowering the angle, seeding, and covering with wood straw.
Figure 4, Site 2, Before
Notice that the channel is wide and shallow and runs at the toe of the eroding hillslope.
Figure 5, Site 2, After
The two men on the right side of the stream are standing on the end of a rootwad/sodmat that plugs the old channel. The newly constructed channel turns left of the Shell volunteers in the yellow t-shirts. Notice in the foreground, that the width-to-depth ratio of the channel has been reduced and that streambanks have been stabilized and revegetated with sedgemats. This process will reconnect the stream and floodplain and also result in lower summer stream temperatures.
Figure 6, Site 2, After
This is the newly created channel. The volunteers are planting willows to stabilize and vegetate the streambanks.
General Construction photos
Fence around Sites 2 and 3
Fence around Site 4
The Armstrong Creek Restoration Project was featured in several publications. Please take a moment to review the articles as they really paint a broad picture of the project and underlying goals.
Trout Unlimited, October 9, 2013
Steamboat Pilot and Today, September 25, 2013