Upper Abernethy

Large Wood Channel and Floodplain Restoration
Lat-long: 45.2988, -122.4678

Expected Outcomes

Port Blakely will be harvesting timber on lands near the proposed restoration work and will provide non-merchantable timber, root wads, slash, and at cost large wood (60-80’ length, 18-24” DBH) totaling at least 400 individual logs for the aerial large wood project and associated in-stream log placement in floodplain tributary channels and along the mainstem of Abernethy Creek. The Upper Abernethy Tributary and Martin Creek components will supply another 200 large logs in a series of log jams placed in these cool water tributaries to Abernethy providing gravel sorting potential and improving spawning habitat.

Logs will be placed via heavy-lift helicopter in strategic locations over 3.93 miles of stream channel, creating cover over the stream channel to maintain existing pool habitat, sort gravels to improve spawning conditions, and enhance floodplain connectivity. At least 30 large wood structures in the wetland will consist of long 60-80 foot logs, many with root wads and will be self-ballasted. Little movement of these large logs is expected, and structures are anticipated to slow flows and restore channel functionality reducing down cutting.

Along Martin Creek, this project will increase the amount and quality of large wood in the stream channel to support creation and maintenance of habitat for native fish. Large wood placed in the channel will force the creation of pools that will increase the quality and quantity of habitat used by juvenile fish. Strategically placed wood will also increase the quality/quantity of spawning habitat by improving sorting of sediment in the stream channel. Riparian habitat will also be improved through removal of invasive plants and establishment of native trees and shrubs.

Finally, this project will improve instream and riparian conditions along 1924-feet of stream channel in an unnamed tributary to upper Abernethy Creek.

The Upper Abernethy floodplain (left) and proposed large wood enhancement sites (right).

Target Completion – September 2025

The amount of large wood in the upper Abernethy Creek stream channel is very low due to a history of stream cleaning and timber harvest that reduced conifer levels in the riparian area. The proposed project will increase the amount of large wood contributing to channel structure and complexity in upper Abernethy Creek, where spawning and rearing habitat for coho salmon, winter steelhead, and Pacific lamprey will be improved.

Extensive blackberry coverage risks compromising the remaining riparian area as it spreads along the stream channel. Cool water temperatures in summer can be protected and even improved through the removal of invasive blackberry, maintenance of the invasive vegetation removed, and planting of appropriate riparian plants/trees for the area.

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