Triple Creek

Site History

Until about 1998 the Triple Creek wetland thrived, supporting diverse and abundant flora and fauna, including a large great blue heron rookery and beavers. However, the stream lost its connection to the floodplain in the late 1990s after a rain-on-snow event combined with other factors and downcut a trench with vertical cut banks of up to 10 feet. Uncharacteristically high water velocities scoured the channel, and Myers Creek became disconnected from its floodplain. The beaver ponds became breached and drained, no longer providing grade control or covering large areas. As the now-drier soils started favoring invasive plant species, the heron rookery was abandoned and the wetland became less able to filter and store water. Riparian vegetation along the streambank is now substantially reduced from historic levels. These changes have 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, supporting student involvement, and sharing observations with eyes on the ground.

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

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—including 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!

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