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Instream Restoration Riparian Restoration Fish Passage
Hatwai Creek Riparian Demonstration and Erosion Control   Nez Perce County, Idaho
Primary Project Type: Instream Restoration
     Secondary Type: Riparian Restoration
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  Historical photograph of Hatwai Creek taken in 1992 before restoration work was ...  

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Primary Problem: Loss of Fish Habitat, Sedimentation
     Secondary Problem: Overgrazing
Main Restoration Action(s): Grade control structures, Grazing management, Riparian revegetation
Native Fish Focus: Chinook salmon
Is this project part of a watershed scale restoration? Yes
Project Dates: 1993 to 1995
  Initial Monitoring: 1993
Restoration Implementation: 1994
Follow-up Monitoring: 1998
Lead Agency:
     Nez Perce Soil and Water Conservation District
Project Partners:
  Click here for a list pf partners.
Project Location: Hatwai Creek is three miles east of Lewiston, Idaho. It is a tributary to the Clearwater River, which merges with the Snake River at Lewiston. Click here for a map of the project area.
Project Description: Historical land use along Hatwai Creek included dairy and crop production and cattle feeding/finishing, which resulted in alteration of the natural stream channel and riparian area. Flood plain areas near the creek were leveled and sloped toward the creek for drainage; riparian vegetation was largely removed or heavily grazed; and the channel was straightened and its bottom flattened.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has listed the Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon and the Snake River fall Chinook salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Chinook salmon utilize the Clearwater River, and those tributaries in good habitat condition, as spawning and rearing waters. Before restoration was implemented, Chinook salmon did not use Hatwai Creek as a spawning or rearing area. However, the creek did have the potential to support Chinook salmon if habitat conditions were enhanced. The 1988 Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Idaho Water Quality Status Report and Non-point Source Assessment indicated that salmonid spawning was not supported in the creek. The limiting factors affecting Hatwai Creek included high water temperature, low mid-summer flow, sedimentation of spawning and rearing areas and lack of riparian vegetation.
Project Goals: The Hatwai Creek Riparian Demonstration and Erosion Control Project objectives were to implement conservation practices for the protection and improvement of riparian resources and fisheries habitat on over 500 acres of rangeland and along a half-mile segment of Hatwai Creek. Project goals were to: 1) promote properly managed range and riparian resources in Nez Perce County using livestock management techniques, 2) assess beneficial use status and impacts from grazing activities, 3) evaluate conservation practice (Best Management Practice) effectiveness, 4) develop riparian evaluation guidelines, 5) evaluate impacts of conservation practices on Chinook salmon, and 6) install upland erosion control, nutrient and pest management conservation practices on over 10,000 acres to keep runoff from discharging sediment into the creek.
Project Methods: The following information is adapted from the Nez Perce Soil and Water Conservation District files on the Hatwai Creek Riparian Demonstration and Erosion Control Project
Three factors are considered important for Chinook salmon survival: 1) adequate water flow for upstream and downstream migration; 2) adequate spawning areas; 3) adequate rearing areas. The project objectives did not increase or decrease water levels in Hatwai Creek. Conservation practices implemented were: 1) a grazing system management plan, which focused on improving riparian habitat with exclusion of grazing only from April through October and improving range condition and trend through enhanced range management practices while maintaining a viable livestock operation, 2) streambank stabilization with herbaceous and woody vegetation planting in the riparian area, and instream rock jetties, 3) grade control with the installation of 10 log (drop) structures to prevent downcutting, 4) upland erosion control to reduce concentrated flow erosion, using water and sediment control basins on 10,000 acres of non-irrigated cropland, and 5) provision of information and education to landowners of over 11,000 acres, on the subjects of soil testing, nutrient budgeting, Integrated Pest Management and wellhead protection. Click here for more information on methods.
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  Installation of a log drop structure on Hatwai Creek in 1994....  
 
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  Photograph of a log drop structure on Hatwai Creek. These structures were insta...  
Monitoring Data and Collection Methods: The objective of the riparian monitoring plan was to evaluate the effects of the conservation practices on riparian conditions and streambank stability. Monitoring data was also used to direct modification of grazing practices and other conservation practices if site objectives were not being met. Monitoring sites were established in June 1993 prior to the restoration implementation. Parameters monitored were stream gradient, undercut banks, greenline vegetation, streambank stability, woody species age class, and overhanging vegetation. The Idaho Fish and Game monitored in the channel the responses of wild trout, natural rainbow trout, and steelhead trout in 1995 and 1998 following restoration implementation.

Monitoring results for the 1995 to 1998 period indicate that the trout density increased annually throughout the length of the project area. Trout density in the project area increased from 0.32 per square meter in 1995 to a high of 13.24 per square meter in 1998. In the control area, trout density was only 0.87 per square meter in 1996, 3.00 per square meter in 1997, and 3.06per square meter in 1998. This improvement is attributed to improved riparian health, including improved streambank stability, increased canopy cover, and decreased stream temperatures.

Upland erosion control reduced concentrated flow erosion of sediment by an average of 20 tons per acre per year. Sheet and rill erosion control practices on 10,000 acres of nonirrigated cropland resulted in a reduction of 7 tons per acre per year. Click here for more information on monitoring.
Was this project effective and how was this determined? Based on the monitoring results of the Hatwai Creek Riparian Demonstration and Erosion Control project, the project was successful in meeting its objectives. Landowners along Hatwai Creek and in the Hatwai Creek watershed were trained in managing livestock and in erosion control, nutrient and pest management. As a result, fish populations increased annually following implementation of the project; upland erosion control reduced concentrated flow erosion of sediment by an average of 20 tons per acre per year; sheet and rill erosion control practices on 10,000 acres of nonirrigated cropland resulted in a reduction of 7 tons per acre per year; and landowners implemented nutrient and pest management on over 11,000 acres in the Hatwai Creek watershed.

The Nez Perce Soil and Water Conservation District also completed a landowner survey to document conservation practice adoption. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed had participated in the project and confirmed they would participate again in a similar project if given the opportunity. In summary, 19 different types of conservation practices were implemented on more than 14,000 acres of land, which is about three-quarters of the total Hatwai watershed acreage.
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  (Before) Historical photograph of Hatwai Creek taken in 1992. Riparian vegetati...  
 
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  (After) Hatwai Creek seven years post-construction (photograph taken March 12, 2...  
Confounding Effects/Additional Information:
Project Specs (all specs are estimates):
  Overall Estimated Cost: $ 54,104
For more information on this project contact:
  USDA Natural Resources Conservation District Nez Perce Field office, , Email:
This information was collected by: Kristin Keith
Project last updated on: 10/27/2006

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Updated: February 16, 2007
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