Skykomish Braided Reach Project

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The Braided Reach restoration effort was an innovative approach for using pilings made of cottonwood boles to to managing floodplain roughness and sediment deposition to guide the migration of large rivers, to encourage formation of fish habitat while reducing flood impacts on adjacent farmlands.

From the project Description:

Limiting factors in the reach include flood and low flows, lack of refuge and rearing habitat, and lack of pool habitat. Rearing and refuge habitat have been diminished due to railroad and highway construction, which has reduced overall floodplain area. The proposed projects build on the SRFB funded Braided Reach Restoration Assessment (02-1609N), which identified strategic points in the reach that would serve to reduce intervention impacts while maximizing results.

With this suite of projects, we hope to increase edge habitat on the mainstem, reconnect side channels, improve riparian conditions and create pools. River processes are neither being changed nor “improved”, but used to improve habitat, in much the same way that habitat is altered in natural systems. Rather than relying on large-scale interventions, the approach uses the power of the river to affect habitat creation. In this way, long-term benefits can be realized that build upon the foundations laid down by the proposed projects.