2014 Summer Conservation Crew Weekly Report

Starting the week of 5/12 the river crew began preparing for the season by servicing the work truck, doing an inventory of tools and materials in the rental unit, and purchasing necessary equipment for the season. The crew built duckbill anchors since work in the river was not possible due to the high water from spring rains. Logs were cut and staged near the sites the crew planned to work in the following weeks. Richard Bruot showed the crew an area on the Black River where an old structure had come apart and created a log jam. The logs were winched back into place and anchored down. A beaver dam was reported on the Black near Mckinnons Bend and removal was started. Finishing up week 1 the crew began repairing old structures near The Gilmary cabin.

For week 2 starting 5/19, the crew finished work at the Gilmary cabin as well as continued removal on the beaver dam near Mckinnons Bend. A downed cedar just below Town Corner Stairs that was blocking the river was removed and anchored down. Starting from Springs 6 waypoint (just upstream of Gottschalk’s cabin) all the way through to Town Corner Stairs, old structures were evaluated and any frames loosened from the winter thaw and high water were repaired. With the river still high, the crew staged more material and constructed more duckbill anchors.

For week 3 starting 5/24 the beaver dam was fully removed. The river returned to normal flow so the crew continued staging material near Spring 5 on the Black, just upstream of Gottschalk’s cabin. The area is a large floodplain/meadow which makes winching logs difficult. Construction started on new structures in a wide shallow reach but none were completed. During week 4 the crew plans to narrow this reach with alternating LWD and SWD structures.

For the first week in June the crew continued to work on Springs 5 just upstream of the Gottschalk cabin. The goal in this area is to narrow the stream as well as provide cover for adult and juvenile brook trout. Trees were cut and winched long distances as the area along the river is a large meadow, barren of easily accessible large woody debris. Construction began on structures this week and during the second week in June a total of 5 large woody debris structures were completed. On June 10th, two crew members floated a portion of the East branch of the Black River to remove log jams and downed trees. A total of 9 fallen trees/log jams that prevented canoe passage were removed in approximately 5 river miles.

The week of the 16th started out with first aid and CPR training for the crew as well as a chainsaw safety demonstration. There was rain early in the week which made the river levels high but construction continued on LWD and SWD structures on the Black River. The crew made cables while the storm prevented work on the river. A total of 3 LWD structures were completed between Spring 2 and Spring 5 near trail 94. The structure on Spring 2 was built along a large silt bed and will collect an abundance of silt and sediment. The structures built on Spring 5 will provide cover for adult and juvenile fish while also narrowing the stream and creating flow diversity. Work will continue in this area.

During the first week in July the crew was sent to remove an overhanging cedar tree at the location of the old Saunders dam. A nearby location also contained a large beaver dam, which over a few days, was also removed. Throughout this two week period the crew finished up work on Spring 5 near Trail 94. A total of 8 LWD and SWD structures were completed and another structure was built on Spring 6. This section of river was previously a wide shallow, gravel reach with very little cover along the river bank other than tag alders. There are now 16 structures in this area. With the addition of these structures the crew successfully narrowed the stream and also provided much needed cover for adult and juvenile brook trout.

Starting the week of the 14th the crew began work at a new location on Canada Creek Ranch. Working in an area of mostly meadow, the possibility of finding material for the construction of LWD and SWD structures is very difficult. With the help of staff from Canada Creek Ranch the river crew moved material from elsewhere on the ranch and staged it near Wadsworth Snowmobile Bridge. This material was then floated downstream to the various sites. Canada Creek contains a substrate of mostly sand and has an abundance of deeper pools and undercut banks. This combination of river diversity makes securing framing for structures difficult. Too alleviate these problems, posts were driven into the streambed and these were used to secure many of the structures in combination with duckbill anchors. During this two week period, a total of 9 LWD and SWD structures were completed on the Ranch. These structures will provide habitat for adult and juvenile fish in addition to sediment capture and flow diversion.