Starting in a patchwork of forested timberlands in southern Polk County, South Fork Pedee Creek (SF Pedee) winds its way for several miles before joining with mainstem Pedee Creek, a tributary to the Luckiamute River. Like many upper Luckiamute streams, Pedee Creek was significantly impacted by historical practices such as logging to the water’s edge, log removal, and log drives. Although these methods are no longer used, the legacy of these practices has resulted in a streambed that is scoured to bedrock in many areas, a loss of logjam habitat in the stream channel, eroded streambanks, and an absence of conifers in the riparian (streamside) area. In addition, a portion of the riparian forest is dominated by invasive species and not providing adequate shade. Two undersized culverts impact the ability of fish to move through the stream. The upper culvert is also holding back valuable gravels that fish need for spawning. The South Fork Pedee Enhancement project includes several activities meant to address each of these issues.
• Install 319 logs in 22 log structures along 2.1 miles: Built log structures are designed to mimic naturally-occurring log jams, which occur when streamside trees fall into the water. These log piles help slow the flow of a river, allowing gravels to accumulate - which improves water quality, and provides habitat and nutrients for many aquatic species.
• Replace two undersized culverts: Project partners Starker Forests, Inc. and Hancock Forest Management (now Manulife Investment Management Timberland and Agriculture, Inc.) replaced the lower culvert with a bridge in 2019. In October 2022, the BLM and LWC are implementing a project to replace the upper culvert with a bottomless arch culvert. This work will allow spawning gravels to be transported downstream and remove a barrier to young salmon and trout trying to access over a mile of upstream habitat.
• Improve streamside forests: Plant 1,200 conifers to begin growing the large wood of the future, control invasive species where needed on about 5 acres, and plant native trees and shrubs to establish healthy streamside forest.
• Community Outreach: Project tours, volunteer plantings and regular project updates will provide community members opportunities to stay informed about project activities and the long-term benefits to the watershed. Sign-up for LWC’s emails to get project updates or become a Friend of the LWC so you can hear about our behind-the-scenes project tours!
• Monitoring: Data collection including changes in the stream channel, stream temperature, and macroinvertebrate (aquatic insect) populations.
A big thank you goes to Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) for the $121,684 grant that makes this restoration project possible. The invaluable project management services for this project are being provided by Bonneville Environmental Foundation ecologist, Jean-Paul Zagarola. Additionally, the LWC is working in partnership with several organizations to accomplish these project goals — including Starker Forests, Inc., Hancock Forest Management, Forests Forever, Inc., Western Oregon University, and the Bureau of Land Management. We also hope to incorporate local students in volunteer and job-training activities in partnership with Oregon State University Extension Service. See the chart below for all of our partner contributions to this project!