Cozy Valley Creek Phase III

Project Name:     Williams Mitigation Project – Cozy Valley Phase III 

Competed December 2005 – Ongoing Monitoring

Funding Source:   Williams & Thurston Conservation District – $78,534                     

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.

The goal of the Heernett Environmental Foundation is to restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat within the Cozy Valley Creek watershed, a sub-watershed of Scatter Creek.  Once managed as pastureland, the Heernett property is now maintained solely for fish and wildlife habitat with the vision of restoring the original stream channels and surrounding emergent wetlands to a pre-settlement condition.

The first phase of the project has already been funded by USFWS and is designed to enhance instream habitat for 3,000 feet of Cozy Valley Creek over a two year period with an anticipated completion date of Spring 2003.  Under existing conditions, the hydrology of the valley has been fundamentally altered through the rechannelization of the creek and its tributaries, and the transformation of riparian forest and shrubland to pasture.  Subsequently, the wetland functions of the valley have been largely eliminated except during the wettest winter days, and the main channel is no longer shaded.  Phase I activities will work to restore the valley’s original hydrologic scheme through bank regrades, culvert removal, and instream enhancement with wood and gravel in addition to creating a 50 foot streambank buffer.

The second phase, funded by Williams, would build upon the successes of the first phase by encouraging the redevelopment of natural wetland functions through planting over 5000 native plants, trees, and shrubs and add wildlife habitat enhancements throughout the 7 acres.  The original buffer would be extended to 100 feet, and snags added to promote raptor use.   In addition, two more culverts would be removed or replaced to facilitate water flow and fish passage.

Watershed:  Chehalis River Basin   Sub-basin:  Scatter Creek  Tributary:  Cozy Valley Creek – north and south tributaries

Habitat type:  Upper Headwaters tributary and wetlands

Acreage:  7 acres

Wildlife usages:   water fowl, raptors, amphibians, salmonids, raccoons, deer, elk, bobcat, beaver, 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.
  • 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 hydrologic conditions throughout the valley floor, increase shade for both the north and south stream channels and provide long-term terrestrial habitat for local native wildlife.

Project Milestones:

  • October 2005 –  Installation of riparian zones – Mixture of 5000 deciduous and conifer trees planted along the north and south stream banks of both tributaries
    • Red Cedar               Sitka Spruce                      Oregon Ash
    • Cascara                  Red Osier Dogwood            Salmon Berry
    • Beaked Hazelnut       Twin Berry                        Ocean Spray
  • June – October 2006 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • June 2006 mowing in-between rows of plants and shrubs
  • January – December 2007 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • January – December 2008 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • October 2009 – some replanting to re-establish mortality trees
  • January – December 2009 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • January – December 2010 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • January – December 2011 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • January – December 2012 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing

Education Opportunities: 

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

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 projects 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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