Upper Sycan River, Oregon

Purpose of the project:
The upper Sycan River supports one of the few remaining populations for two species of lamprey, the Miller Lake lamprey, and Pit-Klamath brook lamprey and has been designated as critical habitat for bull trout. In an effort to improve aquatic habitat conditions for these species as well as the Klamath Speckled dace the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Paisley Ranger District, Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership are working together to restore the riparian and floodplain functions along the river.

Through a combination of historic grazing practices, timber harvest, and road construction throughout the years the project area has experienced a loss of riparian vegetation and an altered hydrologic regime. These changes have had a negative impact and have led to eroding streambanks which have resulted in a down cut channel, a disconnection to floodplain terraces, increased levels of fine sediment, and a lack of aquatic habitat connectivity.

The projects’ goals are to restore the hydrologic function and aquatic/riparian ecological function along a 4.0-mile reach of the upper Sycan River to the benefit of aquatic species and riparian-dependent species.

Human Interest/Community Benefit:
The upper Sycan River project area has been designated a Wild and Scenic River, of which fisheries was one of the three outstanding remarkable values of the designation. This project will restore riparian, floodplain and instream aquatic conditions in a 4.0-mile reach of the river and will benefit both native fish species and sports fish by improving the water quality, stabilizing the stream banks, providing shade with native trees and plants, and increase water levels which could lead to cooler stream temperatures.

In addition, improved riparian conditions and reconnection to historic floodplains will also provide improved aquatic habitat conditions for Redband trout and critical habitat conditions for Bull trout.

Project Timeline:
The project will be completed over a two-year time frame and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.

Economic Calculator results:
As per a model developed by the Genter Consulting Group, the habitat enhancement aspects of the project alone will result in the creation of 3 additional jobs and an estimated $282,962.32 thousand dollar increase in economic activity.

This project was funded by the following partners; Desert Fish Habitat Partnership,
Fremont-Winema National Forest, Paisley Ranger District
Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

The Upper Sycan River Restoration Project is underway! The project has been progressing at a steady pace and will be completed in the summer of 2018. To date the project has accomplished:
Stabilized 1,200+ feet of actively eroding streambanks over a 1.0-mile reach of the Upper Sycan River. Created 20+ large wood complexes along 1.5 miles of the Upper Sycan River Improved conditions on 10 acres of riparian area on USFS land. Planted over 200 whole willows on USFS land. Created floodplain terraces with riparian restoration over a 1.0-mile reach.

Project Submission by:
The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

2018 Waters to Watch