Bird Track Springs Restoration Project

Aerial view of stream restoration site looking at log jams and fish passages

Cardno supports the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) with design and construction management of a new channel and meadow restoration.

The Bird Track Springs Restoration project is critical for enhancing habitat conditions and access for native Chinook salmon and steelhead. Once completed, it will contribute to meeting the federal Columbia River Power System requirements within the Snake River tributary to the Columbia River.

Cardno helped the BOR advance their concept, interpreting background data and interacting with their engineers and hydraulic modelers to craft, present, and evaluate 15% alternatives considering in-channel large woody material (LWM) placements, side channel reactivations, wholesale channel reconstruction, and levee breaching or removals. The project will improve physical and geomorphic processes and aquatic and riparian conditions in a diverse floodplain corridor to address and compensate for historic anthropogenic alterations at the site and in the watershed that degraded the channel and disconnected it from the floodplain.

Cardno regularly interacted with BOR, the local sponsor, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation (CTUIR), federal (USFS) and private landowners, ODOT, ODFW and other agencies, along with the Grande Ronde Model Watershed and other key local stakeholders. The project is part of a phased effort on the Bird Track Reach, which includes the Bird Track Springs, Longley Meadows, and Bear Creek Ranch efforts.

Cardno identified and expressed the sub-reach geomorphic drivers, opportunities, and options for the existing conditions such as beaver ponds, active bar and swales, alcoves, seeps, and floodplain wetland channels. Our team examined existing and potential self-sustaining riparian forest establishment and assessed the effects of ice-jam processes on channel morphology, bank stability, and the sustainability of side channels.

Additional services included:

  • Contributing new geomorphic field assessments
  • Monitoring surface and groundwater temperature to detect and describe hyporheic flow analogs and opportunities
  • Performing subsurface geotechnical soundings to quantify the groundwater setting
  • Collecting topographic and bathymetric survey data

Working with the BOR, Cardno developed the 30%, 80%, and final design plans to re-establish connected side channel habitat with diverse habitat, including pools with engineered LWM jams and bedrock/boulder forcing, preservation of mature vegetation and the addition of cover, and the creation of sustainable alcoves and off-channel ponds.

To date Cardno has prepared final 100% plans, specifications, and engineering cost estimates focused on 18 different types of main channel, side channel, and floodplain log structures, along with several bank treatments and revegetation approaches for floodplain and channel margins.