By The Numbers
The Forest Service’s more than 310 fish biologists and aquatic ecologists, working with many agency hydrologists, engineers, foresters, and other natural resource specialists, and hundreds of Federal, State, and nongovernmental partners, achieved the following accomplishments in 2015:
- 3,465 stream miles enhanced or restored
- 29,763 lake acres enhanced or restored
- 162 road-stream crossings removed or upgraded for aquatic organism passage
- 1,899 miles road decommissioned
- 2,500 individual restoration projects with partners
Aquatic Organism Passage at Dams
Knutson Dam Improvement Project
Chippewa National Forest, Northeastern Region
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: 1st
- More than 30 miles restored for aquatic connectivity on the Mississippi River and tributaries.
- More than 72,000 acres of lakes reconnected, including world-class walleye fisheries on Cass and Winnibigoshish Lakes.
Forest Service Contribution: $500,000
Partner Contribution: $600,000
Total Project Cost: $1,100,000
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, Ottertail Power Company
Knutson Dam was originally built on the Mississippi River in the early 1900s as a logging dam, enabling the downstream movement of harvested timber. In 1926, the Forest Service purchased the dam under Public Law 270 and became responsible for its management and maintenance. With the dam in disrepair, the Chippewa National Forest and its many partners removed the aging dam and installed a rock arch rapids, one the most innovative technologies currently available, to maintain lake levels and restore aquatic and hydrologic connectivity. Public safety and recreational fishing access was greatly improved, as was spawning and rearing habitat for walleye, northern pike, and many other species to more than 30 miles of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including 72,000 acres of connected lake habitat.
Cedar Creek Road and Stream Improvement Project
Lolo National Forest, Northern Region
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: 1st
- Relocated road out of the Cedar Creek floodplain.
- Installed large wood for in-stream habitat along 2.3 miles of fluvial bull trout and Westslope cutthroat habitat.
Forest Service Contribution: $400,000
Partner Contribution: $40,000
Total Project Cost: $440,000
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Trout Unlimited, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Cedar Creek is identified in the interagency Bull Trout Conservation Strategy as one of the coldest, most climate resistant streams within the Clark Fork Basin for bull trout. It still hosts a small, remnant population of bull trout that spawn in this section of stream. This integrated project removed more than 10,000 yards of sediment from the floodplain and restored large wood habitat creating more than 100 pools along 2.3 miles of stream. Trout Unlimited played a critical role in the success of this project.
Floodplain Restoration and Biodiversity
Trout Creek Watershed Restoration and Flood Resiliency Projects
Pike and San Isabel National Forest, Rocky Mountain Region
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: 5th
- Rebuilt highway stream crossing with floodplain and stream channel design to withstand impacts from future flooding.
- Monitored seasonal changes in stream temperature throughout upper watershed and monitored a rare caddisfly found in one spring.
Forest Service Contribution: $8,000
Partner Contribution: $50,000
Total Project Cost: $58,000
Colorado Department of Transportation, University of Southern Colorado, Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife
The Trout Creek subwatershed has numerous springs supporting one of two known rare caddisfly populations. Numerous anthropogenic activities have occurred here in the last 100 years. Three years ago, a flood damaged the support structures under a highway bridge near the spring’s source. The Forest Service cooperated in developing a new floodplain to dissipate high flows and is studying the ecology of the caddisfly to ensure its persistence. Scientists from the National Stream & Aquatic Ecology Center, the regional office, the Pike and San Isabel National Forest, and the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife are working together to understand the ecology of the caddisfly and restore this unique system.
Restoring Native Fish
Paiute Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Intermountain Region
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: 4th
- Nine stream miles restored for Paiute cutthroat trout, federally-listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Forest Service Contribution: $50,000
Partner Contribution: $300,000
Total Project Cost: $350,000
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Paiute cutthroat trout (listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened) is the rarest trout in North America, its historic range is limited to 9 miles of Silver King Creek in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. In 2013, after 12 years of planning efforts and overcoming legal challenges, 9 miles of Silver King Creek were chemically treated to remove nonnative trout, which displaced Paiute cutthroat trout. The final treatment was completed in 2015. Paiute cutthroat trout are planned be released back into their historic range in summer of 2016.
Aquatic Organism Passage at Roads
Cripple Branch Culvert Replacement Project
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, Southern Region
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: 4th
- 1.8 miles restored for aquatic organism passage and flood resiliency
Forest Service Contribution: $95,000
Partner Contribution: $80,000
Total Project Cost: $175,000
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
A perched culvert on Cripple Branch was determined to be a barrier to fish passage during the Southern Research Station’s Center for Aquatic Technology Transfer inventory of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. The conventional culvert was also slowing down velocities upstream during high flows, which caused bed load material to accumulate upstream of the structure and create a large drop at the outlet and associated channel erosion. In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest installed a stream simulation design bottomless arch culvert to allow for aquatic organism passage. The new road-stream crossing allows for aquatic species migration, natural movement of stream bedload, increased flood resiliency of the road network, and increased safety for vehicle crossing.