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home : current news : current news August 1, 2014

4/16/2013 1:38:00 PM
Whychus Creek project wins award
Brad Chalfant (third from right) accepted a State Land Board award on behalf of the Deschutes Land Trust. photo courtesy Dept. of State Lands
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Brad Chalfant (third from right) accepted a State Land Board award on behalf of the Deschutes Land Trust. photo courtesy Dept. of State Lands

A major project to restore the natural flow of Whychus Creek is now an award-winner.

The State Land Board at their April 9 meeting presented the 2012 Stream Project Award to the many organizations involved in the Whychus Creek restoration project near Sisters.

About 1.7 miles of Whychus Creek, which flows through the Deschutes Land Trust's 150-acre Camp Polk Meadow Preserve, was channelized in the 1960s. This resulted in wetland loss, channel erosion and poor in-stream habitat for native fish.

In presenting the 2012 Stream Project Award, Secretary of State Kate Brown, a member of the land board, commended the broad coalition of local, state and federal organizations that provided funding, volunteers, surveying and outreach.

"I'm particularly impressed with the 4,500 hours provided by volunteers who planted 178,000 native trees along the creek. This effort truly embodies the spirit of the land board awards," Brown said.

The project team was composed of the project leaders of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, property owner Deschutes Land Trust, and Bend consulting firm Aequinox; the Deschutes National Forest provided technical expertise. Substantial funding was provided by a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

"This was truly a cooperative effort, and one that not only benefits native fish, but shows the magnitude of what can be accomplished when organizations and the local community work together to restore important habitat," said Brad Chalfant, executive director of the Deschutes Land Trust.

Benefits of the project include: high-quality habitat for native fish; restored meadow hydrology; restored wetland and riparian habitat along the stream; channel connectivity; and reduced stream temperatures to meet state water-quality standards.

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