French Creek Side Channel Project

Planting Project

In 2018, construction of a side channel and instream log jams was completed with the funding from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). In association with this work, in the spring of 2019, eighteen truckloads of willow and ninety-eight cottonwoods were collected and planted at the project site. Trenches were dug and filled with either willow, cottonwood ora mixture of both. Cottonwoods were planted at a spacing of approximately 10 feet per stem. Willow was placed in the trench at high density with stem counts greater than five per linear foot in the areas of highest density. Approximately 625 linear feet of willow was planted at the project site. It is estimated that 1200 to 2000 willow stems were planted in the effort. Willow plantings were cut to approximately 6 inches above the ground to support root development and survival. All cottonwood trees were protected with fence to prevent browse from beaver and deer, until they reach a level of maturity to sustain browse. Manual watering during the extremely dry fall was required. Initial survival is estimated at~90%.

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Adaptive Management

Continued “adaptive management” activities were performed in the FRGP Side Channel in Mid French Creek in early October to increase habitat complexity and reduced the amount of fine sediment deposited in the off-channel feature during winter flows. Large wood structures with rootwads were installed at the inlet and on a bar downstream of the inlet. Willow plantings were installed with the structures. Posts were established on a bar on the river left downstream of the inlet and willow baffles were constructed with willow plantings.

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Water Quality

The water surface elevation(WSE), water temperature and dissolved oxygen monitoring networks established in the project area were maintained, monitored and data was post-processed and analyzed through Water Year 2019(WY19).