Projects

Project Name

Restoration of the Jocko River near Arlee

Category
Surveying
Client / Agency
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Partners
Geum Environmental Consulting, Inc. and Westwater Consultants, Inc.
Location
Arlee, Montana
Date
2003 to Present
Project Description
The Jocko River is a major tributary to the Flathead River that provides important habitat for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. An interdisciplinary restoration team including technical staff from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and consultants from Geum, Inc, River Design Group, Inc., and Westwater Consultants, Inc., prepared the Jocko River Master Plan, as a planning document designed to guide restoration activities in the lower 22 miles of the Jocko River. Following completion of the Master Plan, initial restoration efforts focused on restoring two miles of the Jocko River affected by channel straightening, vegeta­tion removal and levee construction under­taken to achieve flood control objectives in the 1950s. Over time, these actions resulted in simplification of habitat, significant channel incision and sediment delivery from failing earthen levees. A two-phased demonstration project addressed the loss of floodplain connection and altered aquatic habitat conditions. Phase 1 of the project was completed in autumn of 2004 and included one mile of river and floodplain restoration. A 25-year flood event in the project area during spring 2005 provided the opportunity to collect valuable monitoring data and gain insight into how improvements could be made on channel design and construction techniques for Phase 2. Phase 2 of the project was implemented in 2008 and included one mile of river and floodplain restoration. Adaptive management measures undertaken prior to and during implementation of Phase 2 resulted in significantly less maintenance and improved project performance. Project elements included levee removal, nearly 2 miles of channel reconstruction, floodplain re-connection that elevated the river bed 1 to 6 ft above existing erosive con­ditions, 4,400 ft of side channel enhancement, and conversion of 2,000 ft of the existing channel into floodplain wetlands. The design and channel dimensions were based on properly functioning “reference reaches” of the Jocko River. Large wood structures, and vegetated soil lifts were the primary structures used for temporary bank stabilization while the near-bank and floodplain vegetation recovers. Project benefits include the reduction of fine sediment annually entering the stream and a healthy dynamic channel and floodplain system once again providing quality habitat for native trout. Ongoing monitoring continues to provide insights on the techniques used in restoration and this information is shared at www.jockoriver.net
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Historical impacts to the Jocko River channel and floodplain Restoration efforts re-established hydrologic connection with the Jocko River floodplain and re-activated disconnected meanders The use of large wood habitat structures and a variety of bioengineering techniques have increased the frequency and depth of pool habitats on the Jocko River A reconstructed reach of the Jocko River illustrating channel shaping, large wood habitat strucures, and vegetated soil lifts An example large wood habitat structure in the Phase 1 Demo Reach Vegetated soil lifts provide bank protection and facilitate site revegetation Large wood habitat structures collect additional material over time, increasing their habitat value
Historical impacts to the Jocko River channel and floodplain
Historical impacts to the Jocko River channel and floodplain resulted in impaired aquatic habitat conditions and loss of riparian and wetland functions.
Restoration efforts re-established hydrologic connection with the Jocko River floodplain and re-activated disconnected meanders
Restoration efforts re-established hydrologic connection with the Jocko River floodplain and re-activated disconnected meanders. The restored channel plan form and connected side channels emulate the pre-disturbance condition of the Jocko River, improving habitat for bull trout and other aquatic species.
The use of large wood habitat structures and a variety of bioengineering techniques have increased the frequency and depth of pool habitats on the Jocko River
The use of large wood habitat structures and a variety of bioengineering techniques have increased the frequency and depth of pool habitats on the Jocko River. Important habitat components of Montana rivers, large wood, pools, and riparian vegetation function to diversify riverine ecosystems while providing recreational opportunities.
A reconstructed reach of the Jocko River illustrating channel shaping, large wood habitat strucures, and vegetated soil lifts
A reconstructed reach of the Jocko River illustrating channel shaping, large wood habitat strucures, and vegetated soil lifts.
An example large wood habitat structure in the Phase 1 Demo Reach
An example large wood habitat structure in the Phase 1 Demo Reach. The large wood habitat structure maintains pool scour and cover for fish.
Vegetated soil lifts provide bank protection and facilitate site revegetation
Willows grow from a vegeted soil lift placed upstream from a large wood habitat structure. Vegetated soil lifts provide bank protection and facilitate site revegetation.
Large wood habitat structures collect additional material over time, increasing their habitat value
Large wood habitat structures collect additional material over time, increasing their habitat value.