Projects

Fish Creek Restoration Project

The Fish Creek Restoration Project is a long term issue addressing the sediment and nutrient loading from Fish Creek area into Twin Lakes.  This large project encompasses 1600 feet of land along Fish Creek.

2021 Update

In August of 2013 Twin Lakes Improvement Association received a §319 grant through Department of environmental quality. The grant was for $140,000.00 with a match obligation of $56,000 from public and private support. The Fish Creak Restoration project was designed to address the bank erosions along the creek which contributed 600 tons of sediment annually to the upper Lake. The cattle were also problematic, breaking down the banks and adding organic material to the water. TLIA worked to make the project come to life with the help of hundreds of volunteers who provided thousands of hours of their time. The main portion of the project was completed in 2013. As with any large restoration project, there is always the maintenance. This ensures all the work and money expended has continued value for many years (and generations) to come. This is part of TLIA’s 10-year maintenance obligation, and agreement with the English/Easterday Family when we obtained the Department of Environmental Quality §319 Grant.

Fish Creek, ID
Fish Creek, ID

TLIA continues to perform maintenance within the project area. Volunteers helped remove thistle, which is an invasive plant, and other weeds, clear overgrown grass from around pine trees and clean up the site. Fence work was performed to move the existing fence lines in toward the stream. This allowed fenced protected areas, originally needed for construction equipment, to be returned to pasture areas needed for the cattle.

Today, the restoration project is performing as planned. Sediment is no longer eroding the stream banks, due to the rocks, logs and thousands of plants volunteers installed. The plants and trees planted as seedlings are growing and solidifying the stream banks. This is causing shade over the water, which in turn is cooling the water. It is believed that this will affect fish habitat returning to the stream over the coming years. The cattle are restricted to the two cattle crossing to move from pasture to pasture. They have access to the water they need but no longer meander up and down the streams.

In 2017, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality allocated an additional $1,500 towards the Fish Creek project. Additional plants and material were purchased which will be installed at the project site over this summer. Some repairs were identified in 2018 and 2019 the maintenance program continued with moving fencing, repairing crib walls, mowing down high grasses within the project area, and adding additions stabilization along the creek. We will also work on moving additional fencing to return more area to pasture. The English/Easterday family have approved TLIA’s 2021 plan for the Fish Creek work. We express our gratitude to them for allowing our conservation project. Throughout the season there will be workday opportunities; volunteers are always welcome to help on the site. We will share the workday activities at the upcoming annual meeting.

2018 Update

Twin Lakes Improvement Association’s (TLIA), Fish Creek Restoration Project (FCRP) continues addressing and monitoring the sediment and nutrient loading into Twin Lakes from Fish Creek. We strive to continually improve the water quality for Twin Lakes users.

This annual update is provided to TLIA members to remind them of the constant maintenance and volunteer time required when your Board commits to a project like this.

As mentioned in the TLIA’s newsletter last year, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) allocated an additional $1,500 towards the Fish Creek project in 2017. The money was used to purchase additional plants. Over 5 days in late June, 45 volunteers dedicated 355 hours preparing the site and planting approx. 250 plants from DEQ. Several of the volunteers helped on several days. As with any stream restoration project, Mother Nature will add her imprint with high water flow.

During the 2016 snow melt and run off, 2 sections of stream banks partially eroded. As part of TLIA maintenance agreement with DEQ and the Easterday family, we were required to address the issues. On September 22nd, TLIA Board member Herb Minatre, along with his employees from Bay Shore Systems in Rathdrum, volunteered alongside fellow board members and community volunteers. They spent 105 hours reinforcing the damaged sites.

On September 23rd, 8 volunteers spent 40 hours moving cattle fencing. This allowed fenced areas originally needed for construction equipment, to be returned to pasture areas needed for the cattle. TLIA Board members and volunteers spend hours each week during the summer, watering the young plants to ensure the best chance of survival until there are established.

We are fortunate to have an aerial drone video taken of the project site last year. Pastor Jared Cooksey volunteered his time and talent to put together a beautiful presentation that will be viewed at the annual meeting.

 

We thank all these volunteers for putting in their time and efforts into a great water quality project. The TLIA also thanks the DEQ for supplying the plants for the stream restoration.

At the time of this article, I am reassessing maintenance issues to be addressed this summer. As always, it is the help of community volunteers that determine the outcome of projects. If you wish to help on the Fish Creek project, you can sign up at the annual meeting or contact your TLIA Board member. Phone numbers are provided later in this newsletter.

Steve Kolb – (former) TLIA Board Member