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Triple Creek History

Site History  Restoration Approach  Riparian Buffer  Education  Triple Creek Team

The Triple Creek site is part of a 100-acre forested wetland complex that is hydrologically supported by flows from the Buckhorn Mountain drainages of Bolster and Thorp Creeks, which flow through an alluvial fan into Myers Creek. The wetland is located in a floodplain of Myers Creek, about 1.5 miles from Chesaw, WA. 

In less than one minute, watch the Triple Creek land change over the past 72 years!

Until about 1998 the wetland thrived, supporting diverse and abundant flora and fauna, including a large heron rookery and beavers. At that point, following intensive land use practices in the upper watershed, a significant high water event on Myers Creek triggered severe channel incision. Uncharacteristically high water velocities scoured the channel at the floodplain’s lateral control point at the base of Bolster Road. Consequently, Myers Creek has become disconnected from its floodplain throughout this reach; in some areas, the stream has incised 10 feet. This has resulted in significant decreases in surface water inundation frequency and duration throughout this portion of the wetland. Riparian vegetation along the streambank is substantially reduced from historic levels, having been removed for grazing in the 1950’s and further weakened by channel incision, which disconnected the stream from the floodplain, lowering the water table and opening the door for invasive plants to dominate. These changes have significantly reduced wildlife use of the area.

1997 and 2016
    1997...                                                                                   2016 
     (Photo by Rick and Jere Gillespie)

Channel incision occurs when the streambed is lowered and the channel is disconnected from the floodplain, and is often correlated with degradation of habitat. 

Before and after construction, view from above
  Before and after construction... Looking down at Myers Creek and the Triple Creek floodplain from Bolster Road, north of Chesaw

Triple Creek in the news:

Collaborative Team Works to Restore Wetland
On the western toe of Buckhorn Mountain, in a place called Triple Creek, a rich wetland once thrived. A productive great blue heron rookery overlooked large beaver ponds teeming with trout. Myers Creek spilled over its banks, keeping the soils wet so that animals from all levels of life could flourish – from dragonflies to frogs to birds of prey. In the late 1990’s, an unusually heavy rain-on-snow event changed everything...