Stream Restoration, Grade Creek, Cokeville, Wyoming
Client: Trout Unlimited
Grade Creek is a tributary to the Smith Fork of the Bear River in Southwest Wyoming. Historically, the creek was an important spawning tributary for the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (listed species). 50 years ago the creek was diverted for irrigation purposes and the creek dried up and the lower reach was filled in and an alfalfa field was constructed over the creek bed.
During the summer of 2007 NBC removed the lower reach portion of the alfalfa field that was growing over the old Grade Creek channel. We rebuilt the creek in terms of the plan-form and streambed topography that was evident in undisturbed reaches of the creek. In addition, the restoration also included adding cascades, pools, woody debris, and a cobble/gravel substrate to the newly constructed trout stream. Riparian vegetation will be planted in the future. The second phase of the project was completed in the summer of 2008, which included the construction of a concrete diversion structure and fish screen in the upper reach of the creek. In addition, 3000 feet of 12 inch irrigation pipe was installed with a new pump to feed irrigation pivots. The system is designed to manage the flows so that most of Grade Creek runs into the Smith fork and not diverted for irrigation.