Stream Delta Sediment Removal, Rush Creek & Silver Lake, June Lake, California

Client: Silver Lake Homeowners Association & Inyo National Forest

The delta at the confluence of Rush Creek and Silver Lake has a long history of sediment accumulation due to natural processes and sediment input due to the construction of nearby houses, an upslope ski area and the release of sediments from three dams built in the headwaters of Rush Creek. The cumulative effect of these forms of sediment input have in time deposited layers of sediments in the Rush Creek channel that feeds into upper Silver Lake. The sediment deposition through time created a very shallow Rush Creek outlet to Silver Lake. This outlet is used by homeowners who maintain docks and boats along this channel. The channel in recent times was so shallow that most of the home owners could not dock their boats or travel up into the deeper upstream reaches of Rush Creek.

The Silver Lake Homeowners Association contacted Northwest Biological Consulting (NBC) to develop a sediment removal plan and obtain the necessary permits to remove enough sediment to clear the channel for boat navigation. NBC completed a sediment survey and developed a sediment removal plan which was submitted to state and federal agencies for approval. NBC also filed a negative declaration which resulted in a finding of no significant impact. Dredging permits were obtained and the dredging work was completed in the fall of 2005. A floating dredge was utilized to remove the sediments which were pumped for about 2 miles through 8 inch pipe to a staging area where the sediments were sorted by a hydrocyclone and the fines and excess water were pumped through geotubes which trapped the fines and clean water was discharged into a meadow. The solids/sediments were loaded into dump trucks and disposed of in an approved upland site which was a former quarry. Over 3,000 cubic yards of sediments were removed from 1/2 mile of channel. The channel was deepened by 3 to 4 feet which allowed boat access to the boat docks.