Restoration‎ > ‎Triple Creek‎ > ‎

Restoration Approach

Site History  Restoration Approach  Riparian Buffer  Education  Triple Creek Team

The project aims to restore the Triple Creek wetland to a healthier condition, and to improve stream habitat within an incised reach of Myers Creek. 

A deflector dam pushes stream force against the bank to lengthen and widen the channel, and recruit sediment for building the streambed higher.
   A deflector dam pushes the stream against the bank to lengthen and widen the channel and recruit sediment for building the streambed higher.

Before, during, and after construction -- the streambed is raised four feet higher in one year
   Before, during, and after construction -- the streambed is raised four feet higher in one year!

In a healthy stream and wetland setting, beavers often build and maintain wetlands by creating dams that slow the water down and spread it out. When the water moves more slowly, sediment drops out of the water column and settles onto the stream bottom. When the water spreads out, it creates wetlands. Establishing healthier wetland areas near the stream helps improve water quality over time, because wetlands act as natural buffers between the land and the water. Wetlands filter pollutants, preventing them from entering the stream. 

Before and after -- BDA9
 BDA9, left to right: Summer 2016 initial construction; spring 2017 first high water; summer 2017 adaptive management construction; spring 2018 second high water

Recognizing stream restoration as an ecosystem-based process, the restoration approach centers on the construction of beaver dam analogues, or BDAs: woven post lines that mimic the structure and function of natural beaver dams. 

Above: Beaver Dam Analogue #7: before, during, and after construction. (Use arrow keys to advance the slides)

Watch the Triple Creek site change between September 2016 and April 2017:

Spring 2017 Visual updates:

(June 12, 2017)
Beaver Dam Analogue (BDA) #8 was installed up against the incised banks of Myers Creek. During high water of 2017, the stream pushed its force around the BDA and into the bank, widening and lengthening the channel as needed. This sediment was then carried downstream, where it was captured by other BDAs and settled on the streambed. As a result, the streambed is now closer to its floodplain!

The ultimate goal of this project is to reconnect the stream with its floodplain, and foster the ecological benefits associated with that connection. This video is taken at the upstream end of the structures that our team installed in the summer of 2016. 

(June 12, 2017)
Here you can see that large wood is changing the movement of the stream, causing it to spill out over its banks and inundate the floodplain in a broad area on both sides of the creek. This is the least incised portion of the project area, and thus the first to reconnect. It is very exciting to see this degree of success during the first high flows after instream construction.

Use the controls at the bottom of the slideshow or the arrow keys on your keyboard to watch the stream change over time at the location of BDA1.

Above: Beaver Dam Analogue #1: Before, during and after construction

Triple Creek   The collaborative team has worked together to establish baseline information, develop the restoration plan, apply for and receive all necessary permits, and to implement the plan. The team has installed 26 beaver dam analogues to mimic the functions of beaver in the stream; added 10 pieces large woody debris to Myers Creek to compensate for the deficiency of wood and wood-related habitat in reach; and will continue diversifying the native plant community in the wetland. OHA, Trout Unlimited, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor results and implement adaptive management as necessary to meet the project’s goals and objectives.  

At left: Looking down on the Triple Creek wetland from Bolster road, the dramatic difference in elevation can clearly be seen, between the original floodplain and the new floodplain developing within the incised channel.

Long-term operations and maintenance for the Triple Creek project fit seamlessly into OHA’s Restoration Program, which aims to increase the health of the Myers Creek watershed through dedication to stream and wetland restoration projects into the future. Committing to sustaining water quality and public health improvements at Triple Creek provides an opportunity for OHA to continue manifesting its vision for clean water on and around Buckhorn Mountain. 

Project Goals and Objectives:

This project has two main goals, to: 
1. Bring the Triple Creek wetland into a healthier condition
2. Improve water quality, stream habitat, and habitat-forming processes within the reach 

These goals include subsequent long-term improvements for the stream and wetland. Within these goals, the project has objectives that include raising the water table, establishing riparian vegetation, capturing sediment to aggrade the incised stream bed, and increasing the capacity of the stream and wetland to store water for drought protection. 
  • Improving hydrologic connectivity between Myers Creek and adjacent wetland areas – Construction of beaver dam analogues and strategic placement of scour features (including deflector dams and large woody debris/LWD) will function to provide increased channel roughness, sediment capture, and grade control to encourage natural floodplain reconnection and kick-start natural stream geomorphic processes.
  • Improving habitat for fish and wildlife – Placement of LWD instream and on inset floodplains, restoration of native riparian wetland vegetation, and increased access to off-channel areas for refuge during high flow events will improve habitat conditions for fish and wildlife throughout the reach.
  • Restoring native wetland vegetation – Native wetland plant species will be installed and an invasive plant species management plan will be implemented to facilitate reestablishment of a sustainable native wetland plant community.
  • Enhancing beaver habitat – Reestablishment of a sustainable beaver community will be encouraged at the site to facilitate long-term support of natural floodplain processes.
Outcomes expected from the restoration project include: increased stream shading; increased heterogeneity with overall decreased water temperatures and increased dissolved oxygen; increased water attenuation; increased sediment capture; meander development; improved wetland soil hydrology and a start to the long-term channel aggradation process.