19-11-13 stream bank@-2.jpg

Existing wood boards hold up the streambank at the Diversion 45 headgate.

For the next several weeks, work will be done to repair and stabilize a streambank along the Big Wood River as part of a strategy to restore a mile-long stretch of the river and address flooding in Bellevue.

Earlier this year, more than a dozen landowners and stakeholders came together to collaboratively fund a river assessment and conceptual design that could improve the health of the river while mitigating historic impacts. Now, the first of several proposed projects within that design will take place this fall near the Diversion 45 canal headgate by the Howard Preserve.

According to the nonprofit organization Trout Unlimited, the collaborative assessment and design brought together the city of Bellevue, Trout Unlimited, Diversion 45, Wood River Land Trust, Friends of the Howard Preserve and Flood Control District No. 9.

“Everyone involved in the assessment wants to find solutions for living, working and recreating along the Big Wood River in Bellevue,” said Keri York, Trout Unlimited’s Big Wood Project manager. “Historic activities along the river have created issues around irrigation delivery, healthy riparian areas and side channels, public access and flooding.”

The design, completed by Biota Research and Consulting, provides treatments within the one-mile reach that can be completed as funding becomes available. The first project to break ground is bank stabilization upstream of Diversion 45. This entails streambank grading and using cottonwood trees and rootballs to provide stabilization and woody debris for habitat.

“In the 1960s, wood boards and steel were used to hold back the streambank and direct water towards the headgate,” Diversion 45 Manager Justin Stevenson said. “Over years of being submerged and exposed over and over again, the wood has begun to deteriorate. We wanted to replace them with more natural features that are consistent with the rest of the design.”

The project is being funded by a flood mitigation grant from the Idaho Department of Water Resources, Flood Control Dist. No. 9, Diversion 45 Irrigation Districts and Trout Unlimited.

“The flood control district supports this project because it recovers habitat while stabilizing the streambank for irrigation water delivery,” said Bryan Dilworth, a member of the Flood Control District No. 9 board of directors. “We’ve been dealing with a lot of projects since the 2017 flood and want to support efforts to alleviate flooding while improving the health of the Big Wood.”

The area around the Diversion 45 headgate will be roped off during construction for public safety.

For more information about the Diversion 45 streambank stabilization and other Big Wood River projects, contact Keri York at keri.york@tu.org.

Load comments