[Project Update] A River Reborn
A newly unfettered stretch of the Klickitat River is changing right before our eyes
In July 2014, Stewardship Lead Lindsay Cornelius shared the story of how and why we’re removing roughly eight miles of a decommissioned haul road from the banks of the Klickitat River in the East Cascades region of southern Washington. Click here for a refresher. We’ve nearly completed five phases of the project, with 6.2 miles of road removed, pulled back, or regraded. That includes a whopping 33 acres of asphalt and more than 170 tons of road fill removed from the river’s active flood plain.
This work is already restoring the natural processes that shape and govern natural habitat formation on an important and otherwise wild reach of river. Recently, Cornelius compiled this series of before and after photos demonstrating remarkable changes in the river’s hydrology. In the “after” photos, you’ll notice the recent formation of deep pools, side-channels, eddies, and riffles. These hallmarks of a wild and healthy river are crucial to numerous species of important fish, including Chinook salmon. Take a look at this stretch of prime salmon habitat in the making!
This project is a partnership with the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program, and we’ve worked extensively to consider and respond to the interests of local communities who enjoy this river for fishing, hunting, and hiking. This restoration effort is still a work in progress, with one more phase remaining. It will also take time for the re-vegetation to establish native cover along the river bank. While the corridor is changing, it remains open to the public during most of the year. We’re thrilled to observe the re-wilding of a river first-hand, and we’ll be sure to provide further updates in the coming months.