It has nearly three months since the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership completed a stream restoration on a tributary of Spasski River. The goal of the project was to improve the stream function and create habitat for coho, pink, and chum salmon to grow as fry and spawn as adults. Over the course of four days, crews installed eight structures in the stream using timber from near the river. Since the the work concluded, cameras have been documenting changes to the stream and structures.
Monitoring the projects is a very important phase of the work because we can learn from our mistakes and our successes. Its important to begin monitoring as soon as the structure is built so that we are able to observe changes in the fall flood season. The large pulses of water from the fall rains can dramatically alter streams and wash out the structures if they were not installed correct.
This video shows off the changes to the stream and a few of the structures during the summer and fall rains. It’s amazing to watch!
After reviewing the video above there’s a few things to take away.
- The new structures in the stream created pools. Those pools are important for fry which use them during drier weather. You can see the channel go dry in August and the pools gave room for the fry to live. The pools will also trap nutrients and help to feed the small fish while they live in the stream.
- The structures did not move. The crews used a variety of methods to stabilize the structures including digging them in to the bank, adding weight to ballast the structures, driving logs into the banks, and using root wads to stabilize the structures. All of these steps insured that the structures are there for the long term.
- The structures held sediment. The goal of some of the structures was to trap sediment and raise the bed load. Doing that will create pools on downstream side and will keep the sediment from moving into the main stem of Spasski River quickly.
The images below show one of the structures over the course of 5 weeks.
There are several more known sites where stream restoration could be completed in the future using the same techniques as this project. Hoonah Indian Association through the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership is looking forward to completing that work to restore our streams and produce salmon for our community. Future projects will implement monitoring like we’ve outline here so that we may continue to grow and learn.