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Instream Restoration Riparian Restoration Fish Passage
Salt Creek – Allred Flat   Lincoln County, Wyoming
Primary Project Type: Instream Restoration
     Secondary Type:
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  Prior to stream restoration, Salt Creek contained many cut banks and provided li...  

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Primary Problem: Loss of Fish Habitat
     Secondary Problem:
Main Restoration Action(s): Habitat enhancement
Native Fish Focus: Bear River cutthroat
Is this project part of a watershed scale restoration? No
Project Dates: 1977 to 1996
  Initial Monitoring: 1977
Restoration Implementation: 1981 – 1988, 1994
Follow-up Monitoring: 1996
Lead Agency:
     Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Project Partners:
  Bridger-Teton National Forest
Project Location: Salt Creek is located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in the Bear River Basin of west central Wyoming. It drains a section of the Gannett Hills south of Afton, Wyoming and runs parallel to Hwy 89, a heavily traveled access route for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The restoration project encompassed 13,500 ft (2.5 mi) of stream length. Fish habitat improvement was done from the salt spring upstream to near the confluence with Little White Creek.
Project Description: The Salt Creek watershed is part of the Overthrust Belt and contains easily eroded shale, siltstone, and limestone formations. The upper watershed has steep, rounded hills vegetated with a sagebrush, grass, and forb community, and scattered patches of conifer and aspen. Salt Creek is a perennial stream in the project area with an average daily flow of 20 cfs. Prior to the project, beaver activity was sporadic in the project area. The Salt Creek channel also was wide and very unstable with many cut banks, nickpoints, and down-cutting. Past grazing practices, highway construction on the west side of the valley, and loss of beaver in the project area contributed to stream degradation. Grazing was common along the east side of the valley and sheep were moved through lower Allred Flat to high elevation summer range for many years. The high risk of mortality due to heavy traffic volume along Hwy 89 encouraged ranchers to keep livestock away from the highway and closer to the riparian area of Salt Creek. In addition to habitat degradation, trout in Salt Creek were exposed to heavy fishing pressure due to the close proximity of Hwy 89 and the popular USFS campground and picnic area at Allred Flat.
Project Goals: This project was a cooperative venture between Wyoming Game and Fish and Bridger-Teton National Forest to improve and stabilize habitat for Bear River cutthroat trout in Salt Creek.
Project Methods: The Salt Creek project was initiated as a 3,000 ft demonstration project at upper Allred Flat for the Rocky Mountain Stream Habitat Improvement Workshop held in Jackson during 1982. The initial project featured several types of fish habitat improvement structures; after the workshop, habitat improvement work was continued downstream through Allred Flat to stabilize the stream and riparian area. USFS contributed rocks and trees to the project, whereas WGF furnished labor, finished materials, and equipment. Rocks and pine trees from sources near the salt spring were used to construct the restoration structures. Initial restoration at Allred Flat was completed in 1988. During 1994, however, USFS hired a private contractor to install additional structures in Salt Creek Canyon downstream from the salt spring. During 1990, USFS also enclosed 125 acres of Allred Flat with a “lay-down” fence that was erected during summer to protect the riparian area from damage due to grazing. Click here for more information.
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  Tree and rock revetments were installed along Salt Creek to stabilize eroding ba...  
 
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  Habitat improvement structures installed in Salt Creek were designed to improve ...  
Monitoring Data and Collection Methods: Two electrofishing stations were established along Salt Creek to monitor fishery response to habitat improvement structures: an upper site in the demonstration area upstream of Allred Flat, and a lower site at Allred Flat. Habitat improvement structures were installed during 1982 at the upper site. The lower site at Allred Flat was used as a control site (untreated site) until 1986 when habitat improvement structures were installed at this site. Habitat assessments along Salt Creek also were conducted to determine channel stability and the availability of adequate fish habitat. These assessments included measurements of the amount of large woody debris, calculations of the number and size of deep pools, and evaluations of the effectiveness of various habitat improvement structures. Click here for more information.
Was this project effective and how was this determined? Habitat improvement devices enhanced fish habitat by reducing headcuts, stabilizing eroding banks, and providing increased shelter for trout. Bear River cutthroat trout abundance increased 64% in the habitat improvement section and was significantly greater than at untreated sites. The number of beaver dams along Salt Creek increased after the implementation of restoration structures, as did the stability of the riverine and riparian ecosystem. As of 1997, habitat improvement structures exhibited strong durability and performance. Click here for more information.
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  (Before) Prior to the installation of habitat improvement structures on Salt Cre...  
 
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  (After) Beaver activity along Salt Creek was sporadic prior to habitat restorati...  
Confounding Effects/Additional Information: Although biomass and abundance of Bear River cutthroat trout increased after the construction of habitat improvement structures in 1982, population declines were recorded from 1988 to 1994. Severe drought affected the Salt Creek fishery during this period and it is believed that the negative conditions associated with the drought had detrimental effects on the fish population.

During 1997, an exceptional flood washed out all beaver dams. Very deep pools (greater than 3 ft deep) were created at the log plunge, the uppermost upstream “V” plunge, and the gabion plunge. These devices withstood flood conditions, except for some leakage at the upstream “V” plunge. The tree/rock revetments showed little flood damage; a few eroded spots occurred behind the tree revetments and a few logs washed crosswise to the current.

Although a deep pool developed at the lower upstream “V” log plunge soon after construction, the stream later adjusted its channel, forming a deep corner pool approximately 50 ft upstream, and filling in around the man-made structure. In 1997, inadequate pools were present at this plunge and at two timber plunges installed mid-project. These devices, however, were still acting as grade controls and preventing head-cutting. In addition, plunges built of boulders fell apart within two years and the rocks either formed loose boulder clusters providing pocket pools, or were buried by the stream.
Project Specs (all specs are estimates):
  Overall Estimated Cost: $98,900 ($39,560/mile) - USFS contributed funds, rocks, and trees to the project, while WGF furnished funding, labor, finished materials, and equipment.
For more information on this project contact:
  Allen Binns, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Email: Allen.Binns@wgf.state.wy.us
This information was collected by: Michelle White
Project last updated on: 4/7/2007

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Updated: February 16, 2007
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