Restoration Monitoring on the McKenzie River, Oregon

Michelle Rau, Jenna Stewart, Zacharaiah Kezer, Rebecca Martin, Ben Miller, Sean Silverstein, Olga Slivka, Dane Swanson, Valarie Truelove, Thomas Van Hevelingen, Tyler Woods, Krystal Young


In the spring of 2012, we, the Stream Stewardship Team from the University of Oregon’s Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), conducted post-monitoring surveys at a side channel of the Middle McKenzie River (side channel 4) to compare with baseline monitoring data collected by the 2011 ELP Restoration Stewardship Team. The goal of this restoration project was to enhance juvenile spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) rearing habitat within the channel. In 2011 the U.S. Forest Service placed large woody debris (LWD) in five sections of the channel after baseline monitoring to increase the complexity of the streambed within the channel and to create a distribution of sediment optimal for salmon spawning habitat. We conducted pebble counts, cross-channel surveys, and a longitudinal profile of the stream to observe changes since the addition of LWD. Median pebble size decreased downstream of the LWD placements at gravel count 1 and increased upstream at gravel count 2. The percent of embedded sediment decreased at both gravel count sites. We also detected noticeable changes in the stream morphology at four of the five cross-sectional surveys as well as along the longitudinal profile. Sediment size distribution and the formation of pools at the downstream end of the channel showed an initial change in stream morphology since 2011, but further monitoring is warranted in order to fully assess the effects of LWD on streambed complexity and salmon spawning habitat.

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