Overview: Undisturbed forested streams are full of large pieces of wood from fallen trees and tree branches. This wood is a critical component of stream ecosystems for carbon (food) supply and habitat. Just an importantly, instream wood structures provide one of the largest components of in-stream flow resistance resulting in a stable balance between erosive and resistive forces. The ability of stable “log jam” structures to absorb the force of erosive flows and slow-down the water can be very significant. Additionally, large wood structures in streams can induce deep pool habitat formation. These deep pools are critical for maintaining fish populations during dry periods in between rain events in creeks that suffer from urban hydrologic alteration. These factors make the installation of large in-stream wood structures an important component of restoring a more natural hydrology to Cooper Creek.
Often people clear these structures because they think that they must “maintain” a clear flow path to prevent local flooding and erosion problems; however, loss of the wood in our creeks has only exacerbated streambank erosion problems and flooding. While “log jams” can be problematic when they accumulate at road crossings, having a healthy amount of wood in the creek would be expected to reduce the amount of drift wood moving downstream and getting caught at road crossing because there would be many other “log jam” structures upstream to filter out the drifting wood.
Objective & Time Frame: The Collaborative endeavors in restore wood throughout Cooper Creek – from Bechtold Park, to Mill Creek. Our objectives is to work with land creek-front landowners to install wood structures within approximately 9,250-linear feet of the creek (about a third of Cooper Creeks flow path), by the end of 2025. If you are interested in having wood installed within Cooper Creek on your property (not necessarily within the Demonstration Watershed), please reach out via the Contact Page.
Project Spotlight: The Collaborative has recently acquired funding for a demonstration project within Bechtold Park (and two additional downstream parcels) in which existing lying dead trees will be installed in the Creek in a stable manner. The event will be led by a Professional Engineer specializing in “Fluvial Geomorphology”. This demonstration Project will create a local example to which the community may refer when planning future projects, and will double as a training event for the Collaborative and local volunteers. Permanent educational signage will be installed in the Park, near an installed wood structure, to educate the public on the importance of wood in stream ecosystems.