Eagle River watershed: Brush Creek restoration success, more macro and micro-organisms, more trout, better water quality


From The Eagle Valley Enterprise (Derek Franz):

“What we needed and have now is a self-sustaining ecosystem,” said Brynly Marsh, the Adam’s Rib Golf Course superintendent. “We needed things like spawning beds, places for little fish to hide from the bigger ones and deeper pools.” Brush Creek now has more macro and micro-organisms. In this case, macro-organisms are basically insects, or any living thing that can be seen by the naked eye. Micro-organisms are living things that can’t be seen by the naked eye. When all those organisms flourish, so do fish. “The hawks and eagles are also happier,” Cranston said.

When the improvement project started, part of the problem was cattle grazing that harmed the riparian habitat. The first step was to end the grazing along the 3.6 miles of Brush Creek owned by Adam’s Rib before Flywater even came into the picture…

With the cattle gone and Flywater on board, Adam’s Rib developers set to work on their stretch of Brush Creek. They built a total of 66 “structures” in the last two fall seasons. A “structure” is a stream enhancement, which could refer to a reinforced bank or man-made pools, among other things…

The main goal of the in-stream structures is to slow the creek down and create pools for fish to congregate. Boulders were purchased from local excavators to make the structures, so the rock is basically native, Cranston said. Some of the structures are reinforced banks to stave off erosion. Others are more like shallow dams that cover the width of the creek and some entail a grouping of rocks to make a small pool. As many as three structures can be found in one short stretch of the creek.

More Eagle River watershed coverage here and here.

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