Riparian/Wetland Restoration and Fisheries Conservation
KWP is engaged in riparian, wetland and in-stream projects across the spectrum. KWP keeps busy in and around our watershed's streams with projects ranging rom assessments to erosion control, riparian fencing to beavers, nonpoint source education to revegetation, and wetland creation/restoration. Some of our recent efforts are described below.
RIPARIAN FENCING & OFF-STREAM WATER
KWP develops fencing and off-stream water projects to support rancher objectives for cattle forage and clean water while promoting healthy riparian vegetation. Watering access points or hardened crossings may also be eligible projects. Check out our Riparian Grazing Management brochure for more information.
EROSION CONTROL & REVEGETATION
KWP works with landowners to address bank stabilization through the introduction of wood structures to reduce erosion, promote vegetation, and provide instream structure for fish habitat. Where banks are relatively stable and protected from grazing, revegetation can help jumpstart a robust riparian plant community.
WETLAND RESTORATION AND CREATION
KWP is becoming increasingly involved in the restoration or creation of both traditional and diffuse source treatment wetlands. Wetlands can filter both natural and industrial sources of total managed daily loads (TMDL) and have been identified by the USFWS as a tool to improve water quality in Upper Klamath Lake and its tributaries specifically.
Many of KWP's projects will improve habitat conditions for various fish species by striving to improve water quality and quantity in the watershed. KWP also completes projects that more directly benefit fisheries conservation, including the addition of large woody debris and post assisted log structures that create habitat diversity and minimize erosion. Other projects involve the creation of beaver dam analogues which are man-made and provide similar ecosystem services as actual beaver dams.
Our forests in Klamath County are historically adapted to frequent, low intensity wildfires. Recent fires, including the 242 and Bootleg, have been high intensity and severity which makes it harder for the landscape to recover. Riparian areas are especially vulnerable to damage post-fire due to loss of vegetation that will lead to increased streamflows, erosion, and sediment transport making them a priority for post-fire restoration efforts. KWP has multiple projects that prioritize affected areas and use multiple techniques to stabilize and restore these important ecosystems. Pictured are burnt trees felled into and near a stream channel in endangered bull trout critical habitat which will capture sediment, provide shade and habitat complexity, and act as a barrier to cattle among other benefits. Click here to see some amazing before and after images and captures from our timelapse cameras.
KWP has worked with private landowners to address fish passage issues and to protect fish from being entrapped in irrigation diversions.
KWP supports Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) Assessments in the Klamath Basin by providing trained staff for assessment teams. KWP also supports fish habitat assessments by Oregon Department of Forestry and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife through grant writing and project management.
ENGINEERED BIOCHAR FILTRATION PROJECT
KWP has received grants from the USFWS to conduct 2 pilot studies that use engineer biochar-mineral media to filter phosphorous out of sediments in water captured by wetlands before that water is returned into Upper Klamath Lake which has poor water quality due to both natural and human contributions of phosphorous into the lake. This innovative technique uses residues from wildfire thinning treatments of local mixed conifer stands to create the biochar which also captures carbon, benefiting the climate. The possibility of using the biochar after filtration as a fertilizer for local agriculture is also being evaluated.