Healthy Highland Streams: Form and Function

On April 1st, 2011, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife Aquatic Habitat Engineer, Gina McCoy, provided perspective on the factors that affect stream processes. From “slower is better” water storage effects on watersheds and stream habitat, to the ways in which streams reach equilibrium, awareness of stream processes is the first step toward supporting healthy streams. Understanding channel and floodplain development, channel stability, and the role of wood in streams helps guide the restoration process in degraded streams. Gina also discussed the Myers Creek subwatershed existing conditions and restoration issues. 

For the past 17 years, McCoy has provided technical assistance for stream-related projects throughout central Washington. She is currently participating in a project sponsored by the Colville Confederated Tribes to relocate and restore a 3,200 ft section of Bonaparte Creek. She is author of the ‘Stream Processes’ chapter of the Washington State Stream Habitat Restoration Guidelines manual.  Prior to her current position, she co-created and managed a watershed-scale restoration project on the Yakama Reservation.  McCoy’s graduate studies were in watershed hydrology and landscape ecology. She loves sharing her knowledge of streams with anyone who is interested – and that seems to include just about everyone.

Past Highland Wonders – Main Page

Nature’s Engineers: How Beavers Restore Habitat

Beavers possess remarkable engineering skills, which they combine with unparalleled work ethic to the benefit of streams and wetlands. On January 7th, 2011, this event focused on how beavers create the stream conditions and wetlands needed by an array of other plants and animals. In the process, beavers are sub-irrigating by raising the water table and increasing groundwater recharge in the Okanogan Highlands, making more water available for everybody during the low flows of late summer. Guest speakers who work with beavers in the field shared from their experiences and answered questions about these curious creatures. OHA also shared some exciting updates about the work of beavers on two of our restoration sites.

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