Crawford Creek Culvert Replacement

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.

This project will improve fish passage, water flow, hydrologic conditions and habitat for Coho and Cutthroat Salmonids by decreasing delivery of surface sediment into the Crawford Creek Tributary and increasing the mobility throughout the system.

Upon completion of this project, surface water sediment will be eliminated into the system by re-routing the access road away from Crawford Creek.  By re-establishing an elevated crossing point with a new Modified Boxcar Bridge, removing the two smaller improperly functioning culverts, decommissioning the old access road and planting a mixture of riparian vegetation will increase the long-term success of this project.

Using a large singular 60-foot Modified Boxcar Bridge for the crossing point vs. the current use of two undersized shotgun culverts, will provide improved aquatic habitat, mobility, and substantially decrease surface sedimentation throughout the Crawford Creek system.   Woody debris is transported in this system during seasonal high flows.  This bridge enhancement will allow high flows to move efficiently and settle woody debris throughout the system as it would naturally.  This wood provides cover, complexity, and diversity within the system for both adult and juvenile Coho and Cutthroat salmonids.    This will also increase the ability for high flows to flush out the system.  Potentially revealing gravel, cobbles and submerged wood for enhanced macro- invertebrate habitat and increase the water quality throughout the entire watershed.

Completion date: Summer 2008
Watershed: Chehalis River Basin     Sub-basin: Scatter Creek     Tributary: Cozy Valley Creek/Crawford Creek
Habitat type:  Upper Headwaters tributary and wetlands
Acreage:  ¼ mile reach of Crawford Creek
Wildlife usages:  water fowl, raptors, amphibians, salmonids, raccoons, deer, elk, bobcat, beaver, river otter, blue heron

Objectives:  This project will improve fish passage, water flow, hydrologic conditions and habitat for Coho and Cutthroat Salmonids by decreasing delivery of surface sediment into the Crawford Creek Tributary and increasing the mobility throughout the system.

Upon completion of this project, surface water sediment will be eliminated into the system by re-routing the access road away from Crawford Creek.  By re-establishing an elevated crossing point with a new Modified Boxcar Bridge, removing the two smaller improperly functioning culverts, decommissioning the old access road and planting a mixture of riparian vegetation will increase the long-term success of this project.

Project Milestones:

  • August 2007 –  instream flow measurements – bankful width – soil types – and road grade and elevations – were taken to design the appropriate bridge for site
  • October 2007 – April 2008 – Engineered bridge design and permits applied
  • August – September 2008 – instream construction and bridge installation
  • October 2008 – variety of 50 trees planted within construction zone
  • January – June 2009 – monitoring of stream flows and plant mortality
  • June – October 2009 – continued monitoring for plant mortality and browsing
  • January – December 2010 – continued monitoring of stream flows and plant mortality
  • January – December 2011 – continued monitoring of stream flows and plant mortality
  • January – December 2012 – continued monitoring of stream flows and plant mortality

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

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.

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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