Picabo — The first phase of the largest restoration project ever undertaken at Silver Creek will start in late September, according to news release from The Nature Conservancy. The Conservancy owns and manages Silver Creek, and it is restoring the preserves Kilpatrick pond area to ensure the long-term health of the creek. The project will address rising water temperatures and sediment build-up at the pond that is affecting more than 15 miles of creek downstream.
The first phase of the project will start on private property owned by the Purdy family and adjoining Silver Creek. Fishing downstream of the Conservancy's Preserve in Kilpatrick pond will be closed for the rest of the season. Duck hunting will also be closed in this area.
The Purdy project will reconfigure the dam, incorporating fish passage and the ability to release water from the bottom of the pond to help manage water temperature. The upstream project on the Conservancy's preserve will occur next fall.
The Conservancy remains committed to the project, says Conservation Manager Dayna Gross. It is one of our highest priorities as a chapter and the most important thing we can do for the long-term health of the Silver Creek system.
The Conservancy, with the advice of design engineers, contractors and partners, decided to phase the project into two parts. The length of time the project took to get through the permitting and design process, the short construction window, and the importance of quality construction factored into the decision, Conservancy officials said.
Restoration plans include enhancing streamside habitat, creating a more diverse stream channel, and stabilizing existing sediments by creating wetlands, which will help reduce temperatures through the pond by reducing its surface area. Also, several access points will be created along a portion of Silver Creek to improve public access.
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