The Little Wind River is a major tributary to the main-stem river, flowing into the Wind River at approximately river-mile 1. This multi-year restoration project worked to rehabilitate nearly half a mile of the Little Wind impacted by historic logging and associated management, which greatly simplified both riparian and in-stream habitat. Habitat enhancement work on the Little Wind River has a significant value for steelhead and other anadromous fish in the Wind River system.
The Little Wind River Community Habitat Restoration Project was broken into 3 phases, completed in subsequent phases and included design, engineering, and construction for engineered log jams, pools, riffles and spawning glides as in-stream habitat elements, plus side channel reconnection and activation of backwater refugia, and passage improvement at the confluence of the Little Wind River and the Wind River, and post-construction site re-vegetation.
Accomplishments for the most recent and final phase, completed during Summer 2014, included two engineered log jams, two pools, two riffles, two spawning glides, and side channel enhancement. This last item included adding boulders and constructing a backwater refuge in an existing side channel approximately 80’ long; and, secondly, a relic berm along the north bank of the stream was pierced at the upstream and downstream ends, opening approximately 150’ of new side channel, which will activate at high flows, and feeds into a pool at the downstream end.
Spawned out salmon were observed in autumn 2014 in both features, only weeks after construction ended. Following construction, the site was seeded and planted with more than 400 seedlings and cuttings.