The Blaine County Commission has provided $465,000 from its Land, Water, and Wildlife Fund to assist with restoration of the Deer Creek drainage.
About 70 percent of the drainage was ravaged by a lightning-sparked fire in August 2013. Severe rains immediately after the fire triggered debris flows and mudslides, clogging Deer Creek with sediment, shifting the natural river channel, and for a short period, stressing aquatic life.
alt=”” title=”” />A restoration plan has been developed by the U.S. Forest Service, Trout Unlimited and the Idaho Conservation League . The plan proposes restoring the natural river channel, revegetating critical riparian areas, installing large woody debris to capture and store sediment, providing floodplain reconnection, reintroducing beavers to facilitate passive restoration, installing a culvert to facilitate fish migration, and relocating a half-mile section of Deer Creek Road onto a nearby hillside.
Additional support comes from the 5B Restoration Coalition, made up of representatives from TU, Idaho Conservation League, the U.S. Forest Service, the Wood River Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Blaine County Recreation District, the National Forest Foundation, and private citizens.
The proposed restoration project is estimated to cost $1.6 million, with the balance of funding coming from the U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation, and the 5B Restoration Coalition. All funding has been secured, and initial work began during the fall of 2016. The project is expected to continue through 2018.
The Blaine County Land, Water, and Wildlife Fund of $3.5 million was created by a two-year tax levy passed by county voters in 2008. This was the sixth project funded by these monies.