Stream Restoration, Fish Passage Creation & Irrigation Diversion

This project was a comprehensive restoration plan to improve overall watershed function and stream health in the Thomas Creek Sub-shed.
Phase one began in 2007 in a collaborative effort to involve landowners and partners in planning efforts to restore ten stream miles associated with this priority sub-shed through an OWEB TA & Restoration Grant. Thomas Creek, the largest tributary to Goose Lake reaches 40 miles in length and is valued by resource managers and is important to the longevity of the native Goose Lake Fish, including the Modoc sucker, redband trout and other State Listed Sensitive Fish Species.
After improvement of stream conditions in phase one, a second phase of the project was needed to address fish passage. The Watershed Council and project partners planned the creation of fish passages at two large diversion points. The main objective was to allow native fish species to gain access to spawning and rearing habitat in the upper reaches of the watershed.
The Holiday Ranch diversion, the second largest structure within the system, was an irrigation structure that was flooding pastures. In order to solve this issue, Ducks Unlimited and Anderson Engineering Inc. removed the dilapidated diversion structure and replaced it with the pre-cast concrete check structure. To address the fish passage, a vertical slot fish ladder was designed to accommodate all native Goose Lake Fish species. The new diversion structure functions efficiently and with ease, while the fish ladder works to meet the needs of all aquatic species.
A fish passage is now possible, and irrigation managed by the landowner is much more efficient. The diversion is now managed by one person versus four that were required prior to project construction. The diversion structure and fish ladder are working effectively, and grazing management is greatly improved.

Services for Improving Stream Corridor Conditions

  • Constructed four miles of riparian fencing (35-50’ from the top of stream bank)
  • Established four water gaps for livestock watering and crossing
  • Re-established vegetation and provided rooted stability by planting 3000 willow stakes within the riparian corridor
  • Stabilized eroding streambanks by planting willow clumps
  • Planted riparian grass seed mix along the stream corridor
  • Removed a large amount of refuge from the stream
  • Improved grazing rotations and utilized pastures
  • Excluded livestock from within the riparian corridor

Project Partnerships

Due to phenomenal partnerships this project was very successful. NRI worked side-by-side with Ducks Unlimited, the US Fish and Wildlife, the Holiday Ranch and the Watershed Council. Ducks Unlimited was responsible for project design, construction oversight and project funding. US Fish and Wildlife assisted with project funding, technical support and cultural resource surveys and management.
The Holiday Ranch constructed four miles of fence and four water gaps, and managed a new grazing plan. The Watershed Council coordinated and managed stakeholder relations, written reports, volunteer willow cutting and planting efforts, grass seed spreading, and a winter contingency plan. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement board assisted with project funding.