Aquatic Organism Passage for Boreal Toads – Stream Restoration for Species other than Fish

Year: 2020
Presenter/s: Daniel March
Symposium Session: 2020 - 05 Assessing biotic response to environmental change
Topics covered: amphibians, instream structure (culvert/bridge/dam), lessons learned, monitoring, outside PNW, stream, and terrestrial species


Treatment of stream channels, and the environment in general, half a century ago was much different than the thought process today. At that time, things like stream channels and floodplains were nuisance items that needed proper engineering to improve nature and make more efficient use of resources and valuable space. It was common practice to put streams into pipes for long distances and fill the adjacent floodplain. This is especially true in narrow valleys were space is limited. A prime example is South Clear Creek (SCC) near Georgetown, CO. During construction of a series of hydroelectric dams and the associated infrastructure in the early 60s, staging area for equipment and materials was limited. A ready solution was to place South Clear Creek in a pipe and fill the adjacent floodplain to facilitate construction of adjacent infrastructure.
The result was fracturing of habitat for the Boreal Toad, currently listed as an endangered species. Restoration of SCC was a condition of recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing of the Cabin Creek Hydroelectric Generating Station. The goal of the restoration project is reconnection of Boreal Toad habitat through the removal of ~400’ of CMP and restoration of ~500’ of stream channel and floodplain. The presentation will discuss: project history, pre-construction conditions, Boreal Toad needs, stream/floodplain restoration metrics, site restrictions and high altitude (>10,000’) construction challenges.