Krause Creek is an intermittent stream that originates in the Swan Mountains and terminates in Echo Lake, north of Bigfork, Montana. Historic efforts to concentrate the flow and channelization have led to localized downcutting and increased sediment loading downstream. Channel incision has disconnected the historic floodplain and decreased forest diversity, by eliminating riparian communities. The goal of this project was to create an inset floodplain that would promote the long-term development of riparian vegetation, decrease sediment delivery, and decrease channel instability.
The Flathead Conservation District retained RDG to design a restoration project using Low-Tech Processed Based Restoration (LTPBR) techniques to create an inset floodplain and stabilize downcutting. This restoration approach was selected because the cost of mechanically constructing an inset floodplain was prohibitive and the landowners were comfortable with the longer time frame to reach desired project objectives. Over 30 structures were constructed using light power tools and volunteers in 2021 during phase 1. Both beaver dam analogs (BDAs) and post-assisted log structures (PALS) were used to support channel aggradation and widening. Phase 2 will be under construction in 2022. A long-term monitoring effort will continue with the support of Flathead Conservation District to evaluate the effectiveness of these techniques.