The Bureau of Reclamation and the Trinity River Restoration Program hosted a ribbon cutting event earlier this month to celebrate the completion of the Oregon Gulch Channel Rehabilitation Project. The event included participation from Tribal, federal, state, and county leadership to mark the historic restoration achievement.
“This ambitious project reflects years of successful interagency partnership and coordination, extensive planning, and skilled effort,” said Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant. “The multi-agency project was originally identified in 2000 as a priority site in need of channel rehabilitation on the Trinity River. The successful completion of this collaborative project is a model for river restoration in the West.”
The Oregon Gulch Channel Rehabilitation Project is designed to improve the overall function of the Trinity River restoration area. The recently completed project reestablished a functional floodplain, increased river connections, created juvenile salmon and steelhead habitat, increased river flows, provided cover for fish, restored native plant diversity, increased channel complexity, and increased groundwater retention.
“This project has been monumental in scale,” said TRRP’s Executive Director Mike Dixon. “In 15 months, restoration efforts have relocated approximately 550,000 cubic yards of mining waste, an amount which the river would have been incapable of reclaiming in any of our lifetimes. Due to the efforts and craft of many, but especially of the Yurok Tribal construction crew and the Hoopa Valley Tribal revegetation team, this floodplain can now evolve to become open bars, wetland, sedge meadow, and riparian shrub and forest habitat.”
The TRRP contributed $7.9 million toward the construction and revegetation of the project. Other funding sources included a $4.1 million Fisheries Restoration Grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife; $856,000 in Drought Relief funds from Reclamation; and $735,465 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.