RDG Awarded Odell Crk. Dam Removal

July 15, 2014

River Design Group has been selected by the Hood River Watershed Group (HRWG) to provide professional engineering and design services for the removal of the Odell Creek Dam.  The existing concrete dam spans 30 feet across Odell Creek and has historically provided limited power generation and diverted water for irrigation.  Removal is anticipated for 2016 with design and permitting taking place over the next year.

Construction season

August 2, 2013

Working across three states and many different watersheds, our construction season often lasts from April through October. While we have already completed a number of projects including a dam removal in Oregon and a mile-long channel reconstruction on O’Dell Creek near Ennis, Montana, we are now in the thick of construction with projects on the Sandy River and Little Fall Creek in Oregon, and Sinclair Creek in Montana. Before the summer is over, we’ll have completed restoration and fish passage projects in fifteen watersheds across our work area. With our excellent staff and proactive clients, we are enhancing stream corridors for fish and wildlife, one project at a time!

Moving on from conference season

August 2, 2013

We enjoyed a successful conference season which started with the River Restoration Northwest Conference in January, and recently ended with the International Fish Passage Conference in Corvallis at the end of June. RDG is a regular conference sponsor and we often present at restoration and fisheries conferences in Montana and Oregon. These events provide a venue to reconnect with colleagues and clients and to exchange ideas with other practitioners in the field. With that, we move on to construction and field work season!

Conference Season – River Restoration Northwest

January 31, 2013

RDG is gearing up for conference season by updating the RDG website and conference booth. We are a sponsor for the River Restoration Northwest conference next week in Skamania, Washington. Scott Wright and Dan Warren (DJ Warren & Associates, Inc.) are hosting the Project Management for Planning, Design and Implementation of Restoration Projects workshop on Monday. Matt Daniels will be presenting in the Restoration of the Clark Fork River session Tuesday afternoon. Catch us at our booth throughout the week!

RDG’s Project Wins Another Award

May 10, 2012

Friend of the Madison Award 2012!

MRF Honors the Laszlo Family and Granger Ranches for the O’Dell Creek Headwaters Restoration Project
The Foundation has named the Laszlo family, owners of the Granger Ranches, as recipient of the organization’s 2012 Friend of the Madison Award. The award will be presented at the Foundation’s annual “Guardians of the River” Gala Banquet held June 23 at the Lodge at Sun Ranch, Cameron, MT.

The award is presented annually to recognize organizations or individuals who have made significant contributions that advance the Foundation’s mission to preserve, protect and enhance the Madison River ecosystem.
The Laszlo family is being recognized for the O’Dell Creek Headwaters Restoration Project and their conservation efforts along the Madison River. Along with their project’s partners, the Laszlos have undertaken the largest wetland restoration effort in the state of Montana, which includes the rehabilitation of O’Dell Creek, a major tributary of the Madison River.

In the photo above, Jeff Laszlo points out some of the features of the O’Dell Creek project to Foundation directors Jeff Montag (left) and David Bricker.

In the 1950s the O’Dell headwaters were drained with large excavated canals for the purpose of expanding agricultural operations. This was a common practice of that time and in fact was assisted by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Since 2004 the restoration project has removed 16,000 feet of drainage canals, restored or created 35,000 feet of stream channel and re-established the historic water table, restoring more than 500 acres of wetlands. This has resulted in dramatic habitat improvements for fish, birds, vegetation and large mammals. In addition, the Laszlo family has placed more than 8,000 acres into conservation easements to permanently protect the restoration area and its surrounding ranchlands.

O’Dell Creek is a major tributary of the Madison River. Located upriver of the town of Ennis, this spring-fed creek is an important spawning channel for rainbow and brown trout, as well as an important and substantial source of cool water entering the main stem of the Madison River. Stream monitoring has shown O’Dell Creek has been significantly cooled and its flows increased as a direct result of the O’Dell Creek Headwaters Restoration Project. Other important benefits include increased spawning and rearing habitat for juvenile fish, increased usage by avian species and a remarkable re-colonization by important native vegetation.

The O’Dell Creek Project is part of the Laszlo family’s broader vision for sustainable cattle ranching, preservation of open space and the protection of critical habitat for fish and wildlife. In this regard, the Granger Ranches also has entered into a 10-year project with the Madison River Foundation to install seasonal riparian fencing along more than seven miles of the Madison from Varney Bridge north. This project, now in its third season, is intended to restore and protect the river banks and riparian vegetation along the Madison, keep livestock from wandering across the river, improve pasturage through a rotational grazing plan and the development of off-river livestock watering systems.

In 2010 the Granger Ranches received one of six National Wetlands Awards from the Environmental Law Institute recognizing the family’s exemplary stewardship of their land. Partners in the O’Dell Restoration Project include PPL Montana, Trust for Public Land, Montana Land Reliance, Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Montana Natural Heritage Program, the University of Montana Avian Science Center, the Madison River Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, the Longhorn Ranch, and numerous private donors.

By bringing together these wide-ranging private and public entities a model has been established for resource improvement and protection that has included acreage enrollment in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. CREP is a unique program designed to assist landowners in the protection and enhancement of riparian areas along 524 miles of the Madison and Missouri Rivers.

As family member Jeff Laszlo is fond of noting, the Granger Ranches entered into this daunting undertaking with little more than faith in the basic premise that a stream is better than a ditch. The talents, knowledge and commitment of the project’s many partners have continually taken the work to new and outstanding levels.

The Laszlo family is steadfast in its desire to continue this landscape scale effort and is currently in the midst of “Phase 7” to restore another two miles of O’Dell and its associated wetlands. In addition to the direct benefits for the Madison River ecosystem, the Laszlo family has generously made the project area available for a variety of educational opportunities, including field trips for school children and meetings for conservation groups and resource professionals. The family has regularly hosted Project Healing Waters which brings injured veterans to Montana for recreation and therapy. Last year one of these veterans proclaimed his day on the Granger Ranches, “One of the best days of my life.”

Past recipients of the Friend of the Madison award include Bruce Belles, President of ClackaCraft Drift Boats, Clackamas, OR; Craig and Jackie Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone; Robert and Annie Graham of Elk Meadows Ranch, Cameron; First Madison Valley Bank, Ennis; and retired FWP biologist Richard “Dick” Vincent, Toston, MT.

River and Water Resources Engineer Position – Corvallis, Oregon

May 1, 2012

RDG is currently advertising a River and Water Resources Engineer position in or Corvallis, Oregon office. Please see our Careers page for more information on this position.

RDG Selected for McKenzie River – Green Island Restoration Project

December 13, 2011

River Design Group and Tetra Tech were selected by the McKenzie River Trust to provide hydraulic modeling, design, and permit preparation services for restoring the historical McKenzie River channel and floodplain at MRT’s Green Island property. Project elements include restoring gravel pit ponds, improving the connection between the Willamette River and a historical channel of the McKenzie River, and improving two vehicle crossings to maintain site access. The effort will be completed over the next year and will culminate in construction-ready design plans. Project implementation is planned for 2012-2013.

RDG Selected for Little Fall Creek Assessment in Oregon

June 23, 2011

River Design Group was selected by the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council to provide planning and design services for over 20 miles of Little Fall Creek. The assessment and design will take place over the next year with projects slated for implementation in 2012. This is one of the largest projects ever done by the watershed council and we are stoked to be a strategic partner in the restoration of Little Fall Creek…see you on the river!

Image of Little Fall Creek

Milltown Resource Grade Aerials-Flooding

June 8, 2011

Milltown Resource Grade Aerials 5/17/2011-Flooding

Montana Flood Watch 2011

May 20, 2011

High water on the Stillwater River in the Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.