Skip to main content

Triple Creek

Site History

Until about 1998 the Triple Creek wetland was a thriving ecosystem, supporting diverse and abundant flora and fauna, including a large great blue heron rookery and beavers. In the late 1990s, the stream lost its connection to the floodplain due to a combination of  factors that culminated  in a rain-on-snow event. Water rushing through Myers Creek scoured the channel and cut a trench with vertical banks of up to 10 feet. The beaver ponds breached and drained, no longer providing grade control or water over large areas of  the floodplain. As the now-drier soils started favoring invasive plant species, the heron rookery was abandoned and the wetland lost functionality to filter and  store water and  support native species. In just a few years, riparian vegetation along the streambank was substantially reduced from historic levels. These changes significantly reduced wildlife use of the area.

In less than one minute, watch the Triple Creek land change over more than 70 years!

The Triple Creek land stewards, who invested in 500 acres together, were disappointed to see a large part of their thriving wetland dry up. After exploring a variety of restoration options, the group selected Okanogan Highlands Alliance to lead the restoration effort.

The land stewards help with manual weed management, support student involvement, and share observations with eyes on the ground.

OHA, in partnership with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and Trout Unlimited worked with the land stewards to find the most cost effective ways to address the wetland degradation. Goals include: improving hydrologic connectivity between Myers Creek and the adjacent wetland, improving fish and wildlife habitat, restoring native wetland vegetation, and re-establishing beaver.

Parent and student planting together

Local groups, clubs, students, and community members have so far provided more than 1,400 volunteer hours to help restore the wetland. 

OHA has also secured community-based, federal, and state funding. Major funding sources include: Department of Ecology’s Section 319 Water Quality Grant and funds from the settlement agreement reached between Ecology and the Buckhorn Mountain gold mine for water quality violations at the mine. 

Just a few days after the restoration team began installing the first beaver dam analogues in 2016, beavers showed up on the site and stayed for a year and a half. They wove one of the post lines before the rest of the team could get to it! Since 2017, beaver have visited the site, but as of 2022 they have yet to set up permanent residence.

Go Back