Hope Valley Restoration and Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Project
The Hope Valley Restoration and Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Project is located downstream of the “4th crossing” bridge in lower Hope Valley. The “4th crossing” is a reference to the Emigrant Trail; today, Highway 88 crosses over the West Fork Carson River. The project area consists of two meanders—Project Site 1 is the first meander approximately 300 feet downstream of the Highway 88 bridge, and Project Site 2 is approximately half a river mile further downstream at the log crib/2015 American Rivers restoration site. Both project areas are located on California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) land. Project construction took place in October 2020.
The purpose of this project is to help reduce erosion and sedimentation in the West Fork Carson River in Hope Valley at the two project locations. The long-term goals of this project are to improve water quality and aquatic habitat and create a more connected and functional channel and floodplain. This project contributes to reestablishing a functional floodplain and meadow system to allow the river corridor to accommodate variable flows in the future.
This project was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response as part of the settlement of State Water Board enforcement actions.
Project Site 1
Project Site 1 restoration techniques mimic an abandoned oxbow feature. A bench was created behind the failing bank and filled with live sod blocks, willow stakes, and live willow shrubs. The design plans for a more stable and capable streambank behind the current failing bank. The river will continue eroding the failing bank, and in the meantime the willows and sod in the newly created floodplain bench will have time to establish and serve as good habitat for birds and amphibians in the interim and eventually be vital fish habitat when the erosion pushes back that far.
Project Site 2
At Project Site 2, updates were needed to divert stream energy from scouring behind the 2015 American Rivers project, a log crib structure. A basic approach of installing slash (conifer and willow cuttings) at the ends of this reach will add the stability needed. Minor excavation of the stream bank occurred to smooth out the bend and accommodate the introduction of new vegetative material.