Rudio Creek Ranch Habitat Restoration Project

Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Acquisition

Instream Habitat Riparian Habitat
Project ID11-Warm-02
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date05/01/2013
End Date10/31/2013
Last Edited10/21/2021
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The overall Rudio Creek Habitat Restoration project objectives to increase stream length and channel complexity, restore riparian and floodplain vegetation, improve channel­ floodplain connectivity and improve the altered thermal regime were all met. This CRITFC PCSRF funded project (along with using funds from BPA and the Fish America Foundation), resulted in 0.26 miles of stream treated, 0.28 miles of instream habitat creation, 3.33 acres of off-channel floodplain connection, 8 instream pools created through channel reconfiguration, and nine logjams placed creating nine pools. Riparian plantings of 2.44 acres and 0.4 miles of streambank were treated with the following species: Salix exigua, Cornus serica, Populus balsamifera L., Alnus incana, Alnus rhombifolia, and Symphoricarpos oreophilus. 0.2 miles of livestock exclosure fencing was constructed which will protect 2.22 acres of riparian vegetation. CRITFC PCSRF funds ($18,742) were used specifically to pay for subcontracts for excavator placement of the logjam structures (50 hrs at $130/hr = $6,500), channel excavation (1,052 cu yds removed @ $8/yd =$8,416), and for the Warm Springs Tribes indirect costs ($3,826). OWEB funding paid for many other tasks related to this project and is documented in their PCSRF database information (OWEB 211-6012-8168).

Primary limiting factors for summer steelhead and spring Chinook salmon were addressed by taking advantage of natural hydrologic and sediment characteristics, capitalizing on the stabilizing effects of healthy native riparian vegetation, restoring the natural channel geometry and incorporating natural materials such as large wood to increase habitat complexity. The restoration approach was to use the lightest touch possible” in returning Rudio Creek to a riffle-pool dominated stream type within a diverse and well-connected floodplain. Large wood habitat structures were located where they are expected to occur under natural conditions and all restoration elements were designed to be self-sustaining in the future.

Project Benefit    

The goal of this project is to increase the abundance and productivity for NFJDR population summer steelhead and spring Chinook by addressing Rudio Creek basin-scale limiting factors. Originating in the Blue Mountains the North Fork John Day River (NFJDR) is the John Day River’s largest tributary and flows 107 miles before entering the John Day River. North Fork John Day salmon and steelhead populations have declined over the last century due to degradation of habitat and other factors. NFJDR summer steelhead are a component of the Mid-Columbia steelhead ESU and were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on March 25, 1999 (see 64 FR 14517). NFJDR spring Chinook are part of the Mid-Columbia River Spring-run ESU. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NFJDR subbasin is designated essential fish habitat for Chinook salmon. This stock of spring Chinook is the healthiest component of the Mid-Columbia River Spring-run ESU. However, NFJDR spring Chinook have lost 66% of their historic productivity and 72% of their historic abundance (see John Day Subbasin Revised Draft Plan March 15, 2005). Rudio Creek is a perennial tributary of the lower NFJDR and provides 14.3 miles of anadromous fish habitat.

The project site was selected after evaluation of restoration potential, land ownership, land use and risk assessment, and the proposed restoration project will implement high priority recovery plan actions to benefit summer steelhead. The Rudio Creek Ranch Habitat Restoration Project will increase pool habitat, habitat complexity, floodplain connectivity, and riparian vegetation by restoring Rudio Creek to its historic channel alignment, constructing large wood habitat structures, and restoring riparian vegetation. River Design Group (RDG) completed a site review and data collection including remote sensing (air photos) and survey grade GPS to characterize existing and historical channel and floodplain conditions. Terrain modeling of existing conditions and proposed channel alignment was performed using AutoCAD Civil 3D and Eagle Point civil design software. A hydraulic model was prepared for the channel design using USACE HEC RAS river modeling software. The design has been completed, and the restoration approach is to use the lightest touch possible in returning Rudio Creek to a riffle-pool dominated stream type within a diverse and connected floodplain.

The restored site will mimic pre-disturbance conditions to the greatest extent possible. Structures will be located where they would be expected to occur under natural conditions and are designed to be self-sustaining. The new channel alignment will connect Rudio Creek to springs that come off of the west hill slope so as to increase summer base flows and reduce temperature. Beavers are present at the project site, though their numbers and influence on the aquatic and floodplain has been greatly reduced. Anecdotal accounts indicate Rudio Creek and its floodplain were significantly influenced by beavers prior to channel modification and floodplain/riparian clearing. It is anticipated that the proposed restoration project will result in habitat conditions that will support a larger beaver population and perennial dam complexes.


Metric Completed Originally
Instream Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated .28 .28
Riparian Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated .40 .40
  Acres Treated 2.4 2.4

Funding Details

Report Total:$178,000

Project Map


Rudio Creek    

  • Worksite Identifier: Rudio Creek
  • Start Date:
  • End Date:
Area Description
John Day River Watershed

Location Information

  • Basin: John Day
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 44.74864743
  • Longitude: -119.54465649


  • Mid-Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS




  • C.0 Salmonid Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionY (Y/N)
    •      . . C.0.a Habitat restoration and acquisition funding 178,000.00
    •      . . C.0.b Length of stream treated/protected .28
    •      . . C.0.c
      Project identified in a Plan or Watershed Assessment
      NWPCC, "John Day Subbasin Plan". Portland, OR, 2005. NOAA Fisheries, "Mid-Columbia Steelhead Recovery Plan", Seattle, WA, 2009.
    •      . . C.0.d.1 Project Monitoring (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.2 Monitoring Location (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.3
      Monitoring text (from Phase I)
      Increase Stream Length and Channel Complexity The existing channel was straightened and pushed to the toe of the valley. The proposed restoration aims to meander the stream back into the meadow to occupy historical channel locations as determined from historical photos and field data. Increasing channel length, pool frequency, and habitat complexity will increase the amount of available habitat for juvenile and adult salmonids. Proposed monitoring is primarily physical conditions of the restored project. Restore Riparian and Floodplain Vegetation Historical photos of the project site show a significant canopy of trees and shrubs surrounding the stream throughout the meadow area. Remnants of a cottonwood gallery exist at the upstream end of the project reach and provide insight into potential riparian cover for the entire project reach. Proposed conditions include an increase in riparian canopy cover, leading to a greater amount of shade and a higher instance of bank cover. Proposed monitoring includes determining the percent survival of planted materials following project construction, as well as percent shade throughout the project reach. Improve Channel-Floodplain Connectivity Relocation of the existing channel to the valley wall has led to an increasingly entrenched channel with limited access to the natural floodplain. The existing channel has been scoured to bedrock in many places and has limited or no connectivity with the floodplain. Proposed restoration seeks to decrease the width to depth ratio and lead to more frequent connection to the floodplain. Monitoring will include measuring cross-section profiles at monumented locations throughout the project reach and water depths in groundwater wells. Improve Altered Thermal Regime Relocation of the channel, alterations to the floodplain, and management practices have decreased the amount of canopy cover in the project reach. Decreased canopy cover is associated with increased solar radiation in the stream channel and increased water temperatures. In the proposed restoration, native plants will be planted along the stream margins to increase riparian shade. Thermographs will be deployed to monitor maximum water temperatures throughout the year.
    •      . . C.4 Instream Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . C.4.a Instream Habitat Funding 148,625.00
      •      . . . . C.4.b Total length of instream habitat treated .28
      •      . . . . C.4.c.1 Channel reconfiguration and connectivityY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.2 Type of change to channel configuration and connectivity (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.3 Miles of stream treated for channel reconfiguration and connectivity .16
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.4 Miles of off-channel stream created through channel reconfiguration and connectivity .00
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.5 Acres of off-channel or floodplain connected through channel reconfiguration and connectivity 3.3
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.6 Instream pools created/added through channel reconfiguration and connectivity 8
      •      . . . . C.4.d.1 Channel structure placementY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.2 Material used for channel structure (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.3 Miles of stream treated through channel structure placement .28
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.4 Acres of streambed treated through channel structure placement .0
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.5 Pools expected to be created through channel structure placement 9
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.6 Yards of average stream-width at mid-point of channel structure placement project0 (Yards)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.7 Number of structures placed in channel 9
      •      . . C.5 Riparian Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . C.5.a Riparian Habitat Funding 29,375.00
        •      . . . . C.5.b.1 Total riparian miles streambank treated .40
        •      . . . . C.5.b.2 Total Riparian Acres Treated 2.4
        •      . . . . C.5.c.1 Riparian plantingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.2
            Species of plants planted in riparian
            Salix exigua, Cornus serica, Populus balsamifera L., Alnus incana, Alnus rhombifolia, Symphoricarpos oreophilus.
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.3 Acres planted in riparian 2.4
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.4 Miles of streambank treated with riparian planting .40
        •      . . . . C.5.d.1 FencingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.d.2 Miles of fence along stream .12
          •      . . . . . . C.5.d.3 Acres of riparian area protected by fencing 2.2