Within the scope of its Model Watershed partnership, the Luckiamute Watershed Council focuses on the Upper Luckiamute River and its tributaries. This area, known as Kings Valley, has a long history of logging in the headwaters and agricultural use on the valley floor. These ongoing land use activities, along with historic stream splash-damming, have resulted in a lack of channel complexity, passage barriers, loss of riparian cover and invasive species establishment. However, through rapid bio-assessments, the Council determined that the upper Luckiamute offers the greatest potential to restore critical riparian corridors and recover native fisheries.
Landowners in Kings Valley have proven very supportive of the Council’s aggressive program to “Knock Out Knotweed” and implement large wood placement and passage barrier removal projects to address ecological limiting factors.
The Council spent 2010 developing projects in the Upper Luckiamute River including a railroad bridge piling removal project and a riparian/instream enhancement project. This section of the river was historically splash dammed which scoured large wood and gravels down to the bedrock, resulting in significant declines in salmonids and instream habitat complexity. The riparian zone along the river was logged and has limited riparian diversity and cover along many reaches. An infestation of Japanese knotweed threatens the long-term recovery of the riparian corridor and reduces the diversity of riparian-dependent species.
In 2010, the Council secured project funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to implement the projects over the following five years. Bio-assessments were completed during the summer to document fish use and instream habitat conditions. The Council began implementation by engaging the landowners in the area (57 of the 84 streamside landowners expressed support by 2011), securing access, implementing a first round of knotweed treatment and completing a six acre demonstration planting.
In 2011, the Council worked to secure necessary permits and access to address the partial removal of the bridge pilings that are racking large volumes of woody debris and causing excessive bank erosion. They also continued invasives removal, revegetated 40 acres of riparian area and strategically placed large wood/boulders instream over several years. Major partners for the project include the local landowners, Benton and Polk Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and other volunteers. Funding is provided by the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
—Peter Guillozet, Project Manager, Luckiamute Watershed Council