The Current Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 14

RESTORATION

Getting it done

Pit River tribal youth work crews began replanting the meadows and stream banks with native vegetation in 2012. Willows along the banks stabilize the ground and prevent further widening. Native trees and shrubs in two miles of streamside meadows are creating diversity for wildlife and insects and eventually will shade the water and provide cover for fish. Over five thousand native trees and shrubs have been planted and are being carefully monitored. The variety of species can be adjusted as biologists understand what does well in each planted area.

To restore complexity to the streambed, the planners studied the trees that had fallen into the creek at Hat Creek Park, a mile downstream from Carbon. These trees have created prime plant and fish habitat. It was decided to imitate those conditions in the Carbon Reach.

In November 2015, a Firehawk helicopter arrived at Carbon. Over 60 feet long and with two 1100-horsepower jet engines, the Firehawk shuttled precut mature pines weighing nearly nine thousand pounds each from the nearby forest to the creek. Eighty feet long and trimmed of their limbs and tops, but with some of their roots attached, each tree was deftly placed with the roots on the bank and the trunk sloping down

into the water, mimicking the way a naturally fallen tree would lie there.

A 110-ton crane made the final adjustments of the logs in the creek. In all, four groups of large woody debris structures were built and installed. These large log structures deflect the current and redistribute sediment to create conditions that encourage aquatic vegetation to grow and prosper. The vegetation, in turn, creates depth and cover for trout and habitat for aquatic insects–condos for bugs. Lots of condos means lots of bugs. Hat Creek has always had a remarkable variety of mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, midges, damselflies, and dragonflies, as well as scuds, snails, and leeches. Provided with a suitable habitat, this rich diversity of bug life is returning. This, in turn, is bringing the fish back.

In July 2016, a steel footbridge was installed at Carbon. Built in three sections and assembled on-site, the bridge spans 160 feet across Hat Creek at the historic Carbon Bridge site. The bridge makes it easy for anglers and others to explore the entire Hat Creek Wild Trout Area on

the improved trail system. (Continued on page 60.)

Photo by Val Atkinson