The Preston Reach in the Entiat River is a key spawning and rearing area for Upper Columbia spring Chinook. From 2008 to 2012, Cascadia Conservation District partnered with the Priest Rapids Coordinating Committee to purchase a 75 acre easement on Tyee Ranch, a privately-owned ranch that extends along much of the reach. The easement protects natural side channels and off channel habitat for the ESA-listed salmon.
Three levees on the Ranch easement were built 30 to 40 years ago to protect from annual flooding during the spring runoff. They prevented the river from spreading through the natural floodplain during high water, disconnected the channels from the mainstem and reduced places for adult salmon to spawn and young salmon to grow.
Watch a video about the project:
In 2012, Cascadia Conservation District breached the levees. Large log structures were placed throughout the stream channels, creating environments where insects and other organisms can grow, and providing food and hiding places for young fish. Over 600 pieces of large woody material went into building engineered logjams and log structures, which were strategically placed in the river and floodplain, providing immediate in-stream habitat benefits. These log structures will catch other logs as they move downstream, helping to create more of the natural habitat complexity that helps salmon to thrive.
In all, this project will reconnect and enhance over 3,000 linear feet of side channel and over 3.5 acres of riparian and wetland floodplain. In addition, over five acres of wetland and upland habitat will be planted with native plants. Fencing will be installed to keep cattle out of the new salmon habitat.
Above: Aerial view of Tyee Ranch, showing location of levee that was breached to restore natural floodplain.
Right: A helicopter flew in some of the more than 600 logs, placed in the streambed in order to create a more natural salmon habitat. Below: the Entiat Subbasin and location of the Tyee Restoration Project.