Watershed Restoration Program Success Story

White River National Forest – Upper Swan River Watershed Landscape Restoration

The primary objective of this project is to address water quality issues in the Upper Swan River watershed by completely restoring all degraded riparian habitat and stream habitat. The overall goal is to reestablish a meta-population of genetically pure native Colorado River cutthroat trout.

This project has multiple elements that lead to meeting the overall goal. To restore the entire Upper Swan River watershed, over 20 miles of road will need to be completely decommissioned using ground based equipment. Additionally, 20-30 dispersed campsites will need to be decommissioned or managed to help eliminate adverse impacts to the stream and riparian habitat. Implementation of road decommissioning and campsite mitigation started in 2010 and will continue through 2014. Abandoned mines within the watershed impacting water quality will also need to be restored.

Degraded, washing out upper Swan River.
Upper Swan River before reconstruction.

The largest restoration component of this project will be to restore approximately three miles of dredged stream that currently lacks surface continuity. These three miles of stream are critical to restoration as they provide the habitat needed to reestablish a meta-population of Colorado River cutthroat trout.