Armstrong Creek

PDF version: Armstrong_Creek_2013_review 

The Armstrong Creek Restoration Project

      historic cal park

Historic California Park (above) Map_RT

Elkhead Creek sub-watershed (above)

 Cal park

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.

 site map

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.

Project photos


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.

Site 3 After

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.

Site 2 B Before

Figure 4, Site 2, Before

Notice that the channel is wide and shallow and runs at the toe of the eroding hillslope.

 site 2 after

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.

site 2 after

 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