Lower Canyon Crk Implementation-Ph 1
#07-WC-RCO1754 #07-WC-RCO1754
 North Fork Tributaries Restoration Fish Passage Restoration Lower Canyon Crk Implementation-Ph 1
Organization WRIA 1 Salmon Recovery Board (LE)
Status Completed
Schedule Start Date: 12/13/2007 End Date: 9/13/2012
Priority 1
Category Category: Restoration Projects
Project Photo
This project implemented key elements of the preferred first phase of restoration (partial levee removal and bedrock falls modification) for Lower Canyon Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Nooksack River. Canyon Creek provides key tributary habitat for ESA listed spring chinoook salmon, bull trout, steelhead, and other salmonids and provides 3.9 miles of habitat above a manmade bedrock cascade at river mile 0.2. This cascade has posed a partial to full barrier to upstream migrating salmon in the past.  

The downstream 520 feet of a 2400 feet long levee were removed to eliminate a pronounced hydraulic constriction formed by the levee on the right (west) bank and exposed bedrock on the left bank (east). The levee was installed in 1994 to protect a sub-division and County roads following three damaging debris floods in 1989 and 1990.  After levee installation, a partial barrier to salmonids developed at the bedrock notch which limited access to historic spawning and rearing habitats. In addition to levee removal, the following were also accomplished: (1) removal of large boulders (up to 6 feet in diameter) from the floodplain adjacent to the levee to eliminate a manmade floodplain constriction; (2) modification of the upstream drop on the bedrock notch to provide a clear path for adult salmon and movement of one boulder to a bedrock pool tailout to improve backwatering/decrease drop height; (3) levee fill material was used to form large rock-cored "water bars" in former access roads and was placed in swales on an alluvial fan terrace to reduce concentration of flood flow to the Mt. Baker Highway should a large debris flood event send flow overbank in the levee removal area; (4) disturbed soils were stabilized and the site was replanted as per the planting plan; (5) detailed "as built" survey data was collected to define the site topography and as the basis for a detailed evaluation of fish passage post-project; and (6) the grant agreement was amended twice to provide funds to design a second phase of restoration work and to gather realty information on 5 properties and to successfully purchase 2 of those 5 properties.  The remaining three properties were still in progress when this project closed and are to be pursued using other funding sources pending agreements by the current landowners to  voluntary sales.

The original project design identified options to restore full passage and habitat complexity and diversity.  The analysis identified an "hourglass" constriction formed by the levee as the most pressing factor limiting stream function and habitat formation.  The unfavorable hydraulics created by the levee increase sediment transport and channel incision at the bedrock notch and in upstream areas; this perpetuates the continued passage problems.  The partial levee removal will allow the stream to migrate away from the bedrock notch with access up to 18.4 acres of historic migration area.  This is made possible by properties (>70 acres) already purchased by the County and Whatcom Land Trust to restore salmon habitat and reduce flood risks.  The January 2011 flood event was sufficient to overtop the right bank upstream of the project site and send a small proportion of the total stream flow (+/- 5%) through the reworked floodplain area where the levee once stood.  The flow, while relatively minor, followed the path intended in project design and construction.  The site wll be monitored, primarily though reoccupation of photo points and post-construction surveys if a second phase of work is completed in 2012.
Show more  ↓
Miles stream treated/protected
Goal: 0   Actual: 0 
Miles streambank protected by acquisition, easement or lease Measure: Miles Riparian Streambank Protected by Acquisition, Easement or Lease
Goal: 0 Miles  Actual: 0 Miles
Riparian acres acquired
Goal: 0   Actual: 0 
Project Cost
Proposed Funds $0
Allocated Funds $190,068
Expended Funds $0
Balance $190,068

Congressional Districts:1
US WA WRIA:1 Nooksack
Legislative Districts:42
USGS Level 6 Hydro Regions:Canyon Creek
Puget Sound Process Units:Delta NKS
Steelhead PCH:Medium
ESA Listed Salmon/Steelhead Status:Not Warranted
ESA Listed Salmon/Steelhead DPS/ESU:Odd Year Pink Salmon - Not Warranted
Bulltrout Management Unit:Puget Sound
ESA Listed Salmon/Steelhead DPS/ESU:Puget Sound Steelhead - Threatened
ESA Listed Salmon/Steelhead DPS/ESU:Puget Sound\Strait of Georgia Coho Salmo
PSP Action Areas:San Juan Islands
ESA Listed Salmon/Steelhead Status:Species of Concern
US WA Township:T40-0N R6-0E S35
ESA Listed Salmon/Steelhead Status:Threatened
USGS Level 5 Hydro Regions:Upper North Fork Nooksack River
View project on a larger map

Related Projects

Miles Riparian Streambank Protected by Acquisition, Easement or Lease 00.2 Miles