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Wiwaanyatt Creek Riparian Restoration in Malheur National Forest

Difficulty Rating: 3 of 5 September 14 (Thursday PM) to September 17 (Sunday AM) Come lend a hand on the second season of this cooperative project working to restore the "Climate Resiliency" to several Upper John Day River tributaries. Now that grazing is excluded from these riparian reaches, we can get to work restoring this critical Steelhead habitat together.
When Sep 14, 2017 05:00 PM to
Sep 17, 2017 10:00 AM
Where Malheur National Forest
Contact Name
Contact Phone (541) 330-2638
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ABOUT THE AREA:
ONDA has been involved with legal action supporting fish habitat in Malheur National Forest for over a decade, and we are now pleased to be entering a new cooperative phase with the National Forest where we are now in the second year of helping to implement two new, ambitious, multi-year projects restoring key fish habitat on headwater streams.

Wiwaanyatt Creek has its headwaters just east of Prairie City and is a tributary of the Middle Fork of the John Day  River.  The Creek provides critical habitat for Steelhead.  Currently the stream has eroded banks, little to no woody riparian vegetation, has numerous obstructions to fish migration, and is not connected with its floodplain.  We are now in our second year of helping out on projects on this creek.  This is a big exciting project! Culverts are being replaced; old weirs will be refurbished or removed to avoid obstruction to fish passage; extensive lengths of obsolete irrigation channels will be back-filled; sections of creek will be returned to its historic channels; large woody debris and pools will be added; trees encroaching on the floodplains will be removed; Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) will be installed and extensive riparian planting will be conducted.  ONDA volunteers will be responsible for conducting much of the planting and BDA installations.

If all goes according to plan, over time the project area will become a shaded stream with cool water that will encourage native fish species and discourage non-native fish species.  Woody species will be plentiful enough to provide a useful source of browse for deer, elk and beaver.  If the stream is reconnected with its floodplain and the former wet meadows are effectively inundated, the 86 acre project area could store more than 38 million gallons of water that could be slowly re-released over the course of the later summer to maintain cool water temperatures and flows.

HERE is a map of the general area for reference.

Squaw Creek Photo: Malheur National Forest

ABOUT THE STEWARDSHIP WORK:
ONDA volunteers will be working on conducting riparian plantings within the restoration areas at various locations along the creek.  We might also be helping build and install some Beaver Dam Analogues or some other similar type structures in the creek itself. The importance of the work we are doing has many impacts beyond the immediate trees we are helping plant and structures we install.   Having ONDA volunteers help out on this project is a great way to demonstrate ONDA's long-term and meaningful commitment to fish habitat that we have been working to protect for over a decade; it is also a fantastic way to re-build a cooperative atmosphere with the National Forest. And by formally committing to cooperate together we are able provide volunteer hours as "matching" for the grant funding the restoration project.  This greatly increases the magnitude and impact of the project.

Depending on available resources at the time of the project we also may be helping install various forms of browse protection on our plantings and existing plants.  As always there is no experience necessary: We will teach you everything you need to know to work safely and ensure a high chance of survival for the plants.  There is ample opportunity to work at your own pace and on aspects that work best with your physical capabilities.

 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS AND CHALLENGES:

  • Helping to dramatically change a large watershed for the benefit of fish and wildlife.
  • Working in a lovely high elevation eastern Oregon forest.
  • Easy comfortable car camping situation.
  • Ability to self-engage at an effort level of work that is as light or as challenging as desired.

 

TRIP TIMELINE:

  • Thursday, September 14th: Meet at the campsite (directions will be sent in 3-week e-mail before trip).  Get settled in, and have an orientation talk with details about the work over the next two days.
  • Friday, September 15th: Awake early and head to the worksite by 8AM.  We will be away from camp all day, returning between 4 and 5PM.
  • Saturday, September 16tht: Awake early and head to the worksite by 8AM.  We will be away from camp all day, returning between 4 and 5PM.
  • Sunday, September 17th: After breakfast we can pack up and head home.


    CAMP:

    This trip will involve car camping at an un-developed National Forest campsite.  ONDA will provide a porta potty.  There will be no potable water source.  There will be plenty of room to spread out in terms of tent sites, but we will gather in the evenings and the mornings to be able to share information about the work and for some social time.  The campsite is accessible via gravel roads in a standard vehicle: no 4WD required.

    DIFFICULTY RATING: 3 OUT OF 5:
    We will be car-camping and not required to do any extensive hiking.  Planting projects involve hammering a spike into the ground, pulling it out, and inserting a stick into the pilot hole. This can be really tiring in particular, but folks can pace themselves.  We also may be working with some fencing to cage trees, trimming and cutting willow sticks for planting, and perhaps some seeding.  However, everyone can pace themselves and regulate their own level of effort, switch between various available tasks of varying intensities and rest as needed.

    PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITIES:
    Participants are responsible for their own food and camping gear, as well as transportation to and from the trip. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are required for this trip.   Participants should be prepared with clothing layers, food and water to spend the day away from camp to conduct the work.  We recommend bringing your own work gloves to provide a comfortable fit: but it is not required.  We recommend that each person bring 3 to 5 gallons of drinking water for the trip, since none is available on site.

    PROVIDED BY ONDA:
    ONDA will provide the gear for the work (Including work gloves if you don't have a pair), excellent guidance in the field, and a few group camping items to make things more comfortable (chairs, tables, dishwashing bins, campfire materials, water, shade/rain tarp, etc.)  We also provide hot water at morning and evening mealtimes to help expedite meal prep, and espresso coffee in the morning.


    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

    This trip will be led by ONDA Wilderness Stewardship Coordinator Jefferson Jacobs, jjacobs@onda.org
    Group size will be limited to 15 participants.
    This trip is offered free of charge.


    REGISTRATION:

    An ONDA registration application and medical form is required for this trip.
    Click HERE for the form . You only need to fill this form out once per year: You can join additional trips this year just by e-mailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation e-mail will provide information regarding which trips you are on the "participant list" for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the "wait list."

    Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the wait list. Three weeks before the trip begins, the trip leader will send out an e-mail with additional information, maps, driving instructions, car-pooling options etc. However, if you have any questions in the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact the trip leader.

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    Oregon Natural Desert Association
    50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
    Bend, OR 97702
    Tel: (541) 330-2638
    Email:

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