Cost-Effective, Ecologically Based Environmental Solutions
Confidential Client. EcoWest developed and implemented a restoration plan for a thermal spring wetland that had been heavily disturbed. Prior to restoration, the site hydrology and soils characteristics were examined in detail to ensure that the unique thermal springs hydrology and soils would be preserved during all activities. During the restoration, the previously removed soil was replaced and the site was planted with native wetland species that occurred at other nearby similar wetlands. EcoWest also implemented a 5-year monitoring program that required rigorous vegetation sampling and statistical analysis in both disturbed and undisturbed plots, and ground water level monitoring in a series of piezometers. The site developed a rich graminoid flora which included 6 sedges, 4 rushes, 4 species of spikerush, 10 species of grasses and 4 species of Scirpus including local endemic rare sedges and rushes. Within three years, there was no discernible difference between the disturbed and the undisturbed portions of the wetland.
Project Status: The habitat restoration was completely successful.
Diamond Fork/Sixth Water-Stream Restoration. EcoWest mapped wetland and riparian habitats and analyzed vegetation-geomorphic-hydrologic relationships along 15 miles of streams in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah. We used these relationships to evaluate proposed flow regimes and identify riparian restoration and enhancement alternatives associated with placement of irrigation water previously conveyed through a stream channel into a buried pipeline. Goals were to stabilize sediment and stop the excessive bank erosion, improve fish habitat, and restore cottonwood-willow habitat while still maintaining existing populations of the listed Ute ladies’-tresses orchid. Alternatives evaluated included restoration of historical flows, current flow maintenance, 3 alternative flows, and a mix of active vs passive restoration measures in conjunction with each of the flow regimes. Evaluation required a consideration of peak flows, base flows, shear stress, sediment transport, plant species establishment and growth requirements, and plant species’ abilities to provide sediment stabilization in relation to the sheer stress forces and likely plane of impact. The recommended alternative was for a flow that best maintained the peak flow, but reduced the summer effective discharge, in conjunction with active measures to ensure desired species establishment in lieu of noxious weeds.
Project Status: Revised stream flows to support both fish and riparian habitat have been implemented and are currently being monitored to ensure all objectives continue to be met.
Lower Duchesne Wetlands Mitigation Project (project photo above). As part of a large water resource project, a commitment was made to the Ute Indian Tribe to develop a 6,640 to 7,790 acre wetland-wildlife refuge along the Duchesne River. The original plan (developed in 1964) was for a series of managed waterfowl ponds but the wetlands were never constructed. EcoWest was contracted by the Ute Tribe to work as a technical wetlands advisor/manager for the project. EcoWest examined a 45 mile long by 1 mile wide river corridor to identify suitable sites for wetland enhancement, restoration or creation under current conditions, prepared feasibility studies for each potential site, and examined a series of alternative management strategies including: riparian flow maintenance releases from the constructed dams, oxbow reconnection within the floodplain, planting, and weed control within existing wetlands and the constructed pond plan. The selected revised project was to replace the original high maintenance plan for thousands of acres of heavily managed ponds with a low maintenance plan in which the target habitats more closely matched the impacted ones and which provided habitat for a greater diversity of wildlife species. EcoWest subsequently completed the NEPA documentation (Environmental Impact Statement), ESA compliance (Biological Assessment) and prepared detailed habitat restoration plans for the selected alternative, including weed and mosquito control plans.
Project Status: The project NEPA documentation has been approved and refuge development is in progress.
Post Construction Revegetation and Weed Control. EcoWest has developed post-construction revegetation and weed control plans, and supervised their implementation on numerous alternative energy projects in the Pacific Northwest. This has included examining soils, developing appropriate seed mixes (for the soil type, location, altitude, desired community), identifying appropriate seeding methods and identifying the type and timing of any necessary weed control. Because of the variety of habitats and the area covered, the number of weed species addressed is large and includes:
▸Diffuse, spotted, squarrose and Russian knapweed, yellow star thistle