Cozy Valley Creek Phase II

Project Name:      Cozy Valley Creek – Phase II  

Instream Construction Competed December 2004 – Ongoing Monitoring

Funding Source:   US Fish and Wildlife Service & Thurston Conservation District                 $68,000                     

Project Location:  Cozy Valley

Project Description:  This project was developed with the holistic approach to enhance upper headwater reaches for both salmon and terrestrial wildlife, with the goal to continue enhancing further downstream with similar restoration methods.  Cozy Valley is a remnant prehistoric glacial lake, the outline of the valley shows the outer edges of this lake, and the remaining soils indicate heavy peat and organic materials.  This supports the idea that the valley was underwater for many years.  The Cozy Valley tributary is a stream system that evolved through time and was a meandering stream that drained the surface water from Crawford Mountain.

Once pioneers arrived in this area, and settlers started to use the valley floor, it became heavily ditched and drained to support early agricultural practices.  One hundred years ago, the idea was to remove the water a quickly as possible, keeping the fields dry and usable for more months in a year.  Amazingly, the fish and wildlife continued to try and use these ditches, and changed the life uses in these specific reaches.

With the existence of fish and wildlife use, and heavy agricultural practices are no longer necessary, it was recognized that in stream enhancements and restoration was important.   The long-term goal for this project was to create more complexity within the stream system for natural salmon habitat, to slow down the high velocities in the straightened ditches, adding large snags and a diverse mixture of native trees, shrubs, and plants for a true riparian zone, thus creating future shade and terrestrial wildlife habitat.   The end results would take decades to physically come to fruition, but the sooner we got started, the sooner the habitat would be fully functional and self sustaining.

Now, this reach of Cozy Valley Creek is thriving with juvenile salmon, amphibians, the trees and shrubs are emerging and some have grown to 10 to 20 feet (dependant on species), and the large woody debris has slowed down the system, creating more pools and habitat for fish.

Watershed:  Chehalis River Basin   Sub-basin:  Scatter Creek  Tributary:  Cozy Valley Creek

Habitat type:  Upper Headwaters tributary and wetlands

Acreage:  5 acres

Wildlife usages: water fowl, raptors, amphibians, salmonids, raccoons, deer, elk, bobcat, river otter, blue heron,

Issues Project Addresses

  • The Limiting Factors within the project watershed area include temperature, fecal bacteria, sedimentation, and connectivity.
  • Temperature issues within the drainage are due to long reaches of Cozy Valley Creek that run though old agricultural ditches which have minimal shading.  The edges of the ditches are covered with Reed Canary grass, Black berry, wetland sedges and rushes.   This issue is being addressed on the Heernett property, (the entire east end of Cozy Valley) with a restoration project of in-stream enhancements and planting native riparian vegetation, which will take place in the summer and fall of 2002.  The neighboring property in Cozy Valley is currently under proposal as an enhancement project for 2004 with the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
  • Fecal bacteria issues within the project drainage area are due to a small farm at the west end of Cozy Valley.   This farm has approximately fifty head of cattle grazing on a rotating field schedule throughout the year.  During high seasonal flows, forty percent of these fields are flooded, delivering fecal bacteria directly into the system.  The channels that pass through these fields are fenced with an approximate twenty-five foot buffer on either side of the stream, keeping the cattle directly out of the system.  Delivery of fecal bacteria is mainly carried by surface water and high seasonal flows.
  • Sedimentation is due to timber harvesting and poor road management in several surrounding locations adjacent to Crawford Creek and Cozy Valley.   There are three known, forty-acre, sites, which have been harvested within the last five years adjacent to the east end of Cozy Valley.  Plus, there are three roads that deliver sediment into the Cozy Valley watershed systems.  A section of one road, directly perpendicular to Crawford Creek, will be decommissioned during this proposed project.  The remaining two roads are privately owned.
  • Connectivity for the Cozy Valley Creek stream system is degraded in one main location due to an access road across the Cozy Valley Floor.  This road/culvert issue is being addressed with other project proposals in an effort to re-establish the connectedness of Cozy Valley Creek within the next four years.

Objectives:

  • This project will improve water velocity and incising issues, hydrologic conditions, and habitat for Coho and Cutthroat Salmonids by adding Large Woody Debris, creating complexity and slowing down intense high flow degradation.

Project Milestones:

  • August 2005 – Construction started – 3 –  over 100 pieces of Large Woody Debris were placed in the stream channel, and 20 snags were installed along both the north and south tributaries
  • September 2005 –  50 large 15ft to 25 ft trees installed around both the north and south tributaries
  • June – October 2006 – lunched annual Cozy Valley Stream Temperature Monitoring Program – installing 6 to 10 hobo loggers throughout Cozy Valley Tributary to capture summer temperature data to monitor long term affects of tree planting and shade provisions
  • June – October 2007 – continued Cozy Valley Stream Temperature Monitoring
  • June – October 2008 – continued Cozy Valley Stream Temperature Monitoring
  • June – October 2009 – continued Cozy Valley Stream Temperature Monitoring
  • June – October 2010 – continued Cozy Valley Stream Temperature Monitoring
  • June – October 2011 – continued Cozy Valley Stream Temperature Monitoring

Education Opportunities: 

  • Site monitoring and maintenance
  • Riparian plantings
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Ecosystem and species ID workshops
  • Data gathering and analysis

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Site monitoring and maintenance
  • Riparian plantings
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Data gathering and analysis

Relationship to other projects:

  • This proposed project is complimentary to a current restoration project directly downstream on Cozy Valley Creek.   Increasing the mobility throughout Crawford Creek, improving upstream habitat for aquatic wildlife, and revitalizing cool, clear, clean water into the lower reaches of Cozy Valley Creek and onto Scatter Creek will greatly enhance the entire system.  Water quality issues and potential rearing habitat for both Coho and Cutthroat salmonids are extremely vital to these systems and the complete Scatter Creek watershed.
  • The Cozy Valley Creek restoration project will address temperature, sedimentation, fish passage, habitat and other water quality issues within the Scatter Creek watershed.  They will be addressed by creating sinuosity, retainment pools, wood and rock complexity and planting much need riparian vegetation.  The Cozy Valley Creek project will address approximately 2000 (+) feet of stream channel, enhancing diversity and habitat throughout this reach of the system.

Monitoring Plan:

  • The information and data collected would be cataloged and used for Heernett educational programs.  It will be available for any State, Federal, or Tribal agency and other non-profit organizations that wish to use this information to aid in their efforts to successfully complete a stream enhancement project.   The project site, data, and ongoing assessments of the project will also be used during tours and presentations sponsored by Heernett to further local and regional environmental education.
  • The products of the monitoring component could provide critical data and information which can be used to fill data gaps and assist in creating a long-term plan to reduce some limiting factors within the Scatter Creek Watershed, and improving the water quality throughout the Chehalis Basin.

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