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KLAMATH FALLS FWO: Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Forest Service and NGO Restore Lower Fourmile Creek and Harriman Spring in Upper Klamath Lake
California-Nevada Offices , November 15, 2013
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Project site map and overview
Project site map and overview - Photo Credit: Hoda Sondossi
View of Phase 1 project area looking west at the restored meadow with standing water.  Mt. McLoughlin is in view.
View of Phase 1 project area looking west at the restored meadow with standing water. Mt. McLoughlin is in view. - Photo Credit: Damion Ciotti
View of Phase 2 project area looking southwest.  The new alignment of Fourmile Creek in in the foreground.
View of Phase 2 project area looking southwest. The new alignment of Fourmile Creek in in the foreground. - Photo Credit: Damion Ciotti
View of Phase 2 project area, looking east (downstream) at the restored channel of Fourmile Creek from Rocky Point Road.
View of Phase 2 project area, looking east (downstream) at the restored channel of Fourmile Creek from Rocky Point Road. - Photo Credit: Hoda Sondossi

In fall 2013, the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office (FWO) completed the final phase of a multi-phase project to restore Lower Fourmile Creek for the benefit of endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers.

Harriman Spring and lower reaches of Fourmile Creek provide important habitat for the endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers, as well as redband trout. This spring and creek complex provides important cold water refugia to Upper Klamath Lake and was a significant spawning site for the two endangered sucker species until the 1970s.

Major alterations due to agricultural practices in the 20th Century had adverse impacts to the instream and riparian habitat. Much of Lower Fourmile Creek was channelized and leveed for flood control. The mouth of Fourmile Creek had been relocated into Harriman Spring, and fine sediment had covered important spawning gravels used by suckers.

This project began in 2010 and was completed in three main phases, involving many partners and six private landowners. Several hundred tons of fine sediment were removed to uncover native gravel in Harriman Spring, and the mouth of Fourmile Creek was relocated to prevent sediment build-up in the future. A total of 2.9 miles of Lower Fourmile Creek were relocated and/or restored, 0.78 mile of secondary channels reactivated to serve as stream habitat during snowmelt runoff, and 0.3 mile of additional spring outflow channel reactivated.

Restoration of the main channel included removal of levees for better floodplain connectivity, re-occupation of historical channels with natural sinuosity and bed elevation. Tree density in as much as 50 acres of forested wetland was reduced to revitalize overgrown aspen stands. Hydrologic function was improved in Lower Fourmile Creek, including complete restoration of a large wet meadow complex. The project addressed adverse stream alterations in the lower portions of Fourmile; however, a major diversion at Fourmile Lake continues to allow all base flows to be diverted into the Rogue River Basin. The project was designed to accommodate base flows in case they are restored to Fourmile Creek.  
 

State of the art techniques were used for the assessment and design process, including the use of survey grade GPS, and LiDAR data. This project was developed and implemented by Damion Ciotti and Hoda Sondossi of the Klamath Falls FWO. According to Ciotti, “This project is a big step towards restoring sucker spawning to refugial springs along the west side of Upper Klamath Lake.”

This project was made possible with funding from Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) Title II. Project partners included U.S. Forest Service, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, and Klamath Bird Observatory.


Contact Info: Hoda Sondossi, 541-885-2514, hoda_sondossi@fws.gov



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