Mill Creek Stream Restoration 2013

Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Acquisition

Instream Habitat Riparian Habitat
Project ID13-Warm-01
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date02/02/2015
End Date07/31/2015
Last Edited10/21/2021
1 - 1


This project improved connectivity of the Mill Creek stream channel to the floodplain by removing lateral berms and grading the floodplain. Instream habitat complexity and diversity were improved by reconfiguring the main channel, creating meanders, placing spawning substrate, creating pool habitat, placing large wood and boulder structures, and constructing side channels. Off channel habitat ponds and alcoves were excavated. Wetland habitat was improved by expanding existing wetland area through floodplain grading. Artificial wetlands were created by constructing perennial main channel alcoves and excavating ponds connected by constructed side channels. Riparian habitat was seeded and planted. Upland terraces were formed, seeded, and planted.

The CRITFC PCSRF funds ($103,663) were used for tree acquisition and delivery and to cover the cost for a contractor to harvest and deliver the whole trees. The rest of the funding ($116,337) was used to fund project construction. The BPA contributed funds were used to perform the other tasks required.

This project has been successful in achieving the desired outcomes related to habitat availability for focal salmonid species. Rearing and foraging habitats for juvenile spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead was dramatically increased. Upon completion of the project, 0.49 miles of stream have been treated. The amount of suitable spawning habitat was increased with the addition of 1,640 yards of spawning gravels. Another example of project success is the total number of main channel pools created since project implementation. Prior to the project about 19 pools existed within the project area. Following implementation approximately 38 pools are now present. 10 acres were planted with riparian vegetation of native species.127 structures of unanchored individual logs, rocks and stumps with roots were placed in the channel. Overall, it is expected that this portion of Mill Creek will increase the survival and growth of focal salmonids inhabiting the project area. Below are two examples photos before and after project implementation.

Project Benefit    

Habitat restoration actions will benefit all life stages of focal salmonid species. The addition of deep pools, with cover, provides habitat for migrating adult salmonids and rearing juveniles. Juvenile salmonids now have a full suite of low-velocity, high-cover stream-margin habitats. These low-velocity areas are crucial for newly hatched salmonids until they become large enough to forage in pool and riffle habitats. Thermal (hyporheic exchange) and velocity refugia (high flow events) are now available through increased floodplain connection and the construction of off and side channel habitats. Over time, planted riparian vegetation will decrease solar exposure to stream channels, resulting in the maintenance of cool stream temperatures. Allochthonous inputs from riparian vegetation plantings will benefit the macroinvertebrate community by providing additional food sources. In general, the survival and growth of focal salmonids inhabiting the project reach of Mill Creek has the potential to increase. Furthermore, fluvial processes that create and maintain complex habitats used by all native fish have been restored at this site.

This project will increase riparian vegetation- Riparian vegetation creates velocity refugia during high flows, nutrient and forage inputs, and encourages habitat development in the form of undercut banks and woody debris recruitment through time. Therefore, 10 acres of locally sourced native riparian vegetation will be planted. Within those acres, 1.1 miles of side and main channel streambanks will receive the same treatment. old mill pond (referred to as Potter’s Pond) is located on the edge of the commercial forest in Mill Creek (rkm 9.7 – 12.1) and was historically used as log storage for the Warm Springs Forest Products Enterprise. In the 1940s, the pond was constructed using native floodplain material. Lateral berms were created bisecting the active floodplain in order to block stream flow. Fish passage was prematurely terminated by the construction and use of Potter’s Pond. In December 1980, high flows caused the earthen dams to fail resulting in erosion and excessive stream channel scour, essentially removing the pond (i.e., anthropogenic disturbance) but the nature of the disturbance was that of press disturbance, in which the system failed to recover and return to the nominal state. In the late 1980s, The Confederated Tribes of the Warms Spring Reservation on Oregon (CTWSRO) completed a project to increase habitat complexity. Natural recovery of the Potter’s Pond site has continued since the berms were breached in 1980; however, additional restoration actions are needed to address factors that continue to limit fish production.


Metric Completed Originally
Instream Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated .49 .49
Riparian Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated .98 .98
  Acres Treated 10.0 10.0

Funding Details

Report Total:$400,000

Project Map


Mill Creek at Potters Ponds    

  • Worksite Identifier: Mill Creek at Potters Ponds
  • Start Date: 01/05/2014
  • End Date: 10/31/2015
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Deschutes
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 44.86164
  • Longitude: -121.47239


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



Mill Creek Logjams - before Mill Creek Logjams - after Mill Creek Side Channel & Alcove - before Mill Creek Side Channel & Alcove - after


  • C.0 Salmonid Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionY (Y/N)
    •      . . C.0.a Habitat restoration and acquisition funding 400,000.00
    •      . . C.0.b Length of stream treated/protected .49
    •      . . C.0.c
      Project identified in a Plan or Watershed Assessment
      Carmichael, R., and Taylor, B. 2009. Conservation and Recovery Plan for Oregon Steelhead Populations in the Middle Columbia River Steelhead Distinct Population Segment, NOAA
    •      . . C.0.d.1 Project Monitoring (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.2 Monitoring Location (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.3
      Monitoring text (from Phase I)
      The monitoring plan for this project is as follows: • Implementation monitoring – Representative(s) of the tribes Fish Habitat Program will be onsite during all project implementation actions to insure that the project is implemented as intended. • Compliance monitoring – Engineering design – During project construction, a contracted representative/engineer of the design firm will be onsite to insure contractors are adhering to engineered design specifications. • Pre-treatment monitoring – During the summer of 2012, tribal employees collected baseline (existing conditions) stream habitat information across Reservation streams, including the project area. Some of the baseline information collected will be used for post-treatment comparison. For example, counts of instream large wood, total number of pools, total length of unstable stream bank, average bankfull width and McNeil bulk core sediment samples will be compared. Stream temperature monitoring is ongoing below the project area and conducted by other tribal programs. Pre and post project stream temperatures will be analyzed and compared. • Post-treatment monitoring – As stated in the other bullet points, data such as the number of instream pieces of large wood per size class, use of constructed structures by salmonids, number of redds present per year within the project area and the changes in physical/morphological stream profiles will be collected post project on selected year intervals. • Salmonid monitoring – Following implementation, selected constructed structures will be snorkeled to document use of the structures by salmonids. This will mainly be focused on presence/absence of juvenile salmonids; however the size and age class of each respective salmonid species will be documented. This information will be used to supplement snorkeling data that is being collected by our Fisheries Research Department, which collects snorkeling data on juvenile salmonid abundances across Reservation streams. Additionally, our research department conducts redd surveys for returning adult salmonids across Reservation streams, including the project area. That data will be used to assess the abundance of redds pre and post project, within the confines of the project boundaries. Source-sink dynamics are not part of the salmonid monitoring strategy for this project. • Non-salmonid biological monitoring – Macroinvertebrate surveys will be conducted as part of BPA’s Action Effectiveness Monitoring Protocol (AEM). Surveys will occur in select years pre and post implementation. • Physical monitoring – A survey grade GPS unit will be used for all physical/morphological changes in the stream profile. Representative permanent stream cross-sections will be surveyed pre and post project to monitor changes in streambed elevations and stream bank topography. Additionally, longitudinal profiles of the channels thalweg will be completed before implementation, immediately following (as-built profile), and in selected yearly increments post project construction in order to monitor changes in channel slope, pool and riffle lengths, pool and riffle abundances, and pool depths. Some stream restoration practitioners use groundwater wells in order to monitor floodplain water table elevations pre and post project implementation. This method is not part of our monitoring strategy; however other projects that have monitored floodplain connection with groundwater wells have shown increases in water table elevations over time (Childs et. al 2010).
    •      . . C.4 Instream Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . C.4.a Instream Habitat Funding 300,000.00
      •      . . . . C.4.b Total length of instream habitat treated .49
      •      . . . . 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 .49
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.4 Miles of off-channel stream created through channel reconfiguration and connectivity .60
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.5 Acres of off-channel or floodplain connected through channel reconfiguration and connectivity 7.6
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.6 Instream pools created/added through channel reconfiguration and connectivity 4
      •      . . . . 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 .49
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.4 Acres of streambed treated through channel structure placement 1.1
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.5 Pools expected to be created through channel structure placement 19
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.6 Yards of average stream-width at mid-point of channel structure placement project4 (Yards)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.7 Number of structures placed in channel 127
      •      . . . . C.4.f.1 Spawning gravel placementY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.f.2 Miles of stream treated with addition of spawning gravel .49
        •      . . . . . . C.4.f.3 Cubic yards of spawning gravel placed1640 (Cubic yards)
      •      . . C.5 Riparian Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . C.5.a Riparian Habitat Funding 100,000.00
        •      . . . . C.5.b.1 Total riparian miles streambank treated .98
        •      . . . . C.5.b.2 Total Riparian Acres Treated 10.0
        •      . . . . C.5.c.1 Riparian plantingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.2
            Species of plants planted in riparian
            • Pinus Ponderosa • Rosa woodsii • Amelanchier alnifolia • Prunus virginiana • Physocarpus malvaceus • Philadelphus lewisii • Cornus sericea • Alnus sinuata • Salix geyeriana • Scirpus lacustius, acutus • Scirpus microcarpus • Carex rostrata • Camassia quamash • Salix lasiandra • Salix exigua • Carex aperta • Pseudoregneria spicatum • Festuca idahoensis • Poa secunda spp. secunda • Elymus elymoides • Elymus glaucus • Achnatherum thurbarianum • Purshia tridentata • Artemisia tridentata • Eriogonum ovalifolium • Lomatuim cous (or L. triternatum) • Balsamorhiza sagittata • Eriogonum umbellatum • Astragalus arrectus • Lymus cinereus • Deschampsia caespitosa spp. caespitosa • Elymus trachucaulis spp. trachycaulis • Potentilla gracilis • Festuca rubra spp. rubra • Carex geyeri
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.3 Acres planted in riparian 10.0
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.4 Miles of streambank treated with riparian planting .98