Wenatchee River Institute and Jennifer Hadersberger, Senior Natural Resource Specialist for Chelan County Natural Resources Dept., will lead a field trip to the Nason Creek Floodplain Reconnection Project on Sat., Sept. 7, 9 am-12 noon.
During the late 1950s approximately 1-mile of Nason Creek located south of Lake Wenatchee, was constricted into a narrow channel to protect Chelan PUD power lines to the north, and the BNSF railroad to the south. The Nason Creek Floodplain Reconnection Project removed ½ mile of this river levee, relocating 1400 feet of the main stem into a new meandering alignment, and reconnected 30 acres of the channel migration zone. Site restoration of the more than 10-acre work area included seed collection within the Nason Creek watershed from over 15,000 native plants.
“This project is very unique because infrastructure has actually been moved out of the Nason Creek floodplain. Typically, projects like this try to work around infrastructure –not move it, in order to restore critical habitat. We were able to secure the funds for this project and Chelan Co. PUD was a willing partner,” explains Hadersberger.
The restoration project’s primary goal is to reconnect historic habitats. This will improve and increase salmon habitat, as well as the abundance of ESA-listed Upper Columbia River spring Chinook salmon and steelhead. The Upper Columbia Region Biological Strategy and Recovery Plan have identified Nason Creek as the top priority for habitat restoration in the Wenatchee sub-basin.
About the magnitude of the Nason Creek project Hadersberger said, “It is really something to see a project that took 8-10 years of planning, a project that we worked on for so long and with a lot of stakeholder cooperation. We are already seeing changes in channel morphology (changes in river channel shape and direction over time).”
During the field trip the project will be explored, while Hadersberger recounts the story behind it all. This visit may coincide with fish spawning in the new channel (as they did last fall) and the appearance of redds (fish egg nests). Join us to watch and learn! Meet by 9 am at the Wenatchee River Institute campus, 347 Division Street in Leavenworth, to travel via WRI Otter Van and carpool. Cost: $25 WRI members, $30 non-members, and limited to 24.
Photo provided by Jennifer Hadersberger