In August 2019, Watershed Consulting & Timberland Excavating partnered on a large scale project in the Big Hole valley to restore two stretches of river, Oregon Creek and Lower French Creek. The objective of the project was to reset damage to both systems created by the legacy of placer mining, and to restore water storage function that has been slowly degrading over a century. On Oregon Creek, we constructed 1300 linear ft. of new river channel, excavated and regraded 15,000 cubic yards of placer mine tailings, and created 3.5 acres of new floodplain accessible to the creek. When we finished there, we moved five miles down valley and started on lower French Creek, where we constructed 4000 linear feet of new channel, moved over 30,000 cubic yards of mine tailings, and created 7 acres of new floodplain. The two projects will reduce sedimentation, improve fish spawning habitat, reintroduce flow from the river to the floodplain, and begin to reset the process of water storage that is crucial to a headwaters system. 

Lower French & Oregon Creek