Restoration project creates artificial beaver dams at Lower Black Butte Swamp wetland on Indian Ford Creek
SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Sisters Ranger District and Heart of Oregon Corps have teamed up for a wetland restoration project along trails in the Glaze Meadow Old-Growth Area on the Deschutes National Forest.
The ranger district and organization are restoring the Lower Black Butte Swamp wetland on Indian Ford Creek, five miles west of Sisters. The wetland, one of the largest on the ranger district, has been drying out over the past decade, affecting the wetland vegetation and peatlands.
Beavers traditionally built dams in this wetland but have not been active in the past 10 years. The Forest Service is recreating the historic role of beaver in the wetland by building small dams using natural materials and raising the ground water level in the wetland.
To create the artificial beaver dams, crews install posts in a row across the stream and then weave willow and juniper branches between the posts. Sedges and finer branches are then layered into the structure.
The goal is to raise the ground water table in the wetland while retaining access for fish passage. Prior to the project implementation, native freshwater mussels were collected and relocated outside of the project area so they would not be affected during beaver dam construction.
Crews will continue to use the area trails to haul materials, and recreationists may encounter vehicles on the trails until the project is completed on Oct. 13.
For questions, please call the Sisters Ranger District at (541) 549-7700.