Instream Restoration - Restoring Channel Processes to restore Fish Populations - Narration

Instream Restoration

[ Fade into underwater view of sun, juveniles swmming in Mill Creek

Dan Porter: Well salmon and big trees go hand in hand, and have for some time.

[Dan porter - speaking from banks of Smith River]
[cut to salmon tail in redwood foliage]

Mill Creek is a refugium for coho salmon

[adult chinook holding below large wood jam - 18 mile, cordova Alaska]

Its a creek that is absolutely critical for the recover of salmon

[large school of chinook swimming by in murky water - Mill Creek confluence pool]

And STRL recognizes that the recovery of salmon populations as an integral part of the forest as a whole recovering

[pan down from old growth redwood crowns in lower mill creek to log jam - natural]

Narrator: Instream restoration efforts ar intended to restore the processes that create healthy salmon habitats

[ bubbles underwater - swimming downsteam over gravel bar with buried wood in it

Over 20 years of fisheries monitoring in Mill Creek has shown that fish numbers in the West Branch are much higher than fish numbers in the East Fork

[report figures
[downstream monitoring photos
[juvenile salmon

This difference is partly due to the lack of wood in the East Fork, and to the predominance of alder trees

[pan up from channel to flat channel and lots of alders


"Well after 100 years or more of commercial wood extraction, the streams and rivers here have become so depleted of wood that their form has become counter-productive to salmon habitat and to the habitat forming processes that are related to wood.

In order to restore these habitat forming processes, it is necessary add a lot of wood


we've got forest restoration, hillslope restoration where we are removing old logging roads

[Rocco talking - cut to time-lapse wood loading]
[time-lapse of heavy equipment pulling roads]

and those two activities have provided an unlimited, or nearly unlimited amount of

[time-lapse of rocco digging up tree with excavator]

wood in all forms for us to do the instream wood loading

[time-lapse of loading wood onto trailer and driving away]

Instrumental Jam

[time-lapse footage of wood loading -
hand labor - adjusting logs
excavator bring down big piece

"Our objective to restore process requires us to reintroduce vast amounts of wood that was similar to what was here over geomorphic time"

[loading the channel with lots of wood -long shot]


But salmon don't live in geomorphic time, salmon live in BIOLOGIC time

[underwater view of school of juvenile salmon in Mill Creek confl. pool]

"We're taking the steps to make that time occur over maybe a 25-50 year time scale, instead of a 500 to thousand year time scale"

Without wood, forest streams become simplified - often described as "flumes" or "bowling allies"

Rivers with intact riparian zones deliver large volumes of wood to stream channels, creating complexity for fish by influencing the way water and gravel moves downstream

One of the main goals of the instream restoration program at Mill Creek is to build large, complex wood jams.

we constructed this structure to create side channel habitat, and refugia for hi flow migration (paraphrase

This type of instream restoration began at a small scale in the East Fork of Mill Creek, starting in 2006

An additional 10 complex wood jams were constructed in 2008, and we are already seeing profound results.

With time, the East Fork of Mill Creek will provide much better spawning and rearing habitat for the numerous salmon and trout that return to Mill Creek each year.

With continued restoration efforts, Mill Creek will continue to play a critical role as both a forest stronghold, and a salmon stronghold.