Featured Project: Redwood Creek Habitat Enhancement Project Design

Location: Redwood Creek, South Fork Eel River, CA
Client: Eel River Watershed Improvement Group
Project Manager: Joel Monschke

Aquatic habitat within Redwood Creek is impaired primarily due to excessive fine sediment, lack of habitat complexity, low dry-season flows, and increased water temperature. Redwood Creek, although impaired, also supports an important population of salmon and requires habitat improvement to preserve the species. Stillwater Sciences is currently assessing Redwood Creek with the goal to enhance salmonid habitat by providing refuge for salmonids during high winter flows, providing deep pools offering cover and rearing habitat in the summer, and reducing bank erosion that is threatening landowner infrastructure.

To develop the enhancement design, Stillwater conducted a field survey collecting data related to site topography, geomorphology, trees, roads, etc. Topographic data was compiled with existing LiDAR to create a combined Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in AutoCAD Civil 3D. Based on the DEM, geomorphic assessment, hydraulic modeling, and other opportunities/constraints, Stillwater developed conceptual design alternatives for instream habitat enhancement.

Large wood structure, anchored with cable.

Design elements include installation of large wood and boulder structures that will provide protection of banks from erosion, refuge for salmonids during high winter flows, and deep pools offering cover and rearing habitat in the summer. The structures will also help to create hydraulic conditions that sort sediment thereby increasing the potential for improved spawning conditions within the project reach. Canopy cover along the stream corridor will be increased through bioengineering techniques and tree planting. These features will help to reduce bank erosion and lower water temperatures, while provide a long-term source of woody debris to the stream.The habitat enhancement designs will be finalized through a Technical Advisory process and stakeholder review.

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