Indian Creek Restoration Project (2009)

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In cooperation with property owners Chris and Betsy Berens, the District, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Indian Creek Stewards restored a 300-foot reach of Indian Creek. Over 100 years ago, Indian Creek along the Beren's property was channelized and dammed to manage roadside drainage and provide irrigation water to the growing orchard business in the Hood River Valley. The old irrigation system blocked fish passage, reduced fish habitat, introduced heavy sediment, provided unreliable irrigation water delivery, induced wide variations in stream flow, added point source pollutants, reduced steam flow in the Hood River, and cost the District thousands of dollars in lost hydroelectric revenue. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and Green Project Reserve dollars provided $4.0 million to be used by FID to fully pressurize its irrigation delivery system, thus eliminating the need for the old diversion facility at the Beren's site. The old roadside channel that served as an artificial pathway for Indian Creek was abandoned, and Indian Creek was realigned. The new channel is much more natural and provides increased sinuosity, decreased stream gradient, increased fish habitat, and restored fish passage. Native shrubs have been planted in the riparian zone of the new creek channel. Healthy shrubs are important to stream-zone function and also benefit water quality by reducing water temperature and attenuating runoff and sedimentation. Indian Creek is a valuable urban waterway that transects the rural uplands of the City of Hood River and provides habitat for native fish, educational opportunities, wildlife values, community enjoyment, and increased water for the lower Hood River and Columbia River.

Finished Berens Channel

Indian Creek flowing freely through the newly restored and planted channel. The site has been dubbed ‘Berens’ Bend’. FID emergency spillway outfall pipes in the background.

 

 


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