Deep Creek/Bull Run Culvert Replacement and Channel Realignment

Old culvert at deep creek and FS rd 7370.

Old culvert at deep creek and FS rd 7370.

The Deep Creek Culvert project is an ambitious project with the goal of improving stream function and fish passage for this beautiful and scenic corridor near Granite, OR.  Field work started July 15th 2014, and will finish up with the in-stream work window at the end of August.

Components of this project include:

    Replace 1 culvert at the junction of Deep Creek and the 7370 Road.

    Replace 1 culvert at the junction of Bull Run Creek and the 7370 Road.

    Realign the stream channel to allow flood plain access and prevent culvert failure.

    Move part of FS Road 7370 out of the flood plain and along a better route of travel.

We are replacing the culverts with concrete tunnel structures that are open-bottomed and well clear of the stream-bank, allowing for a large flow event and preventing failure and destructive erosion.  The road had been moved at least once in the past; probably redesigned to prevent automotive accidents.  We are placing the road back in the original location at the top of the project, but using the existing junction with County Road 24 to maintain a safe intersection.  This design will provide a wide floodplain and riparian area while allowing public access to this area. 

Previous Culvert Replacement on Bull Run Creek and FS Rd 7375

Previous Culvert Replacement on Bull Run Creek and FS Rd 7375

The Council has used these concrete structures on other projects that have worked out quite well. One, pictured here, is about a mile up County Road 24 on the 7375 road where it crosses Bull Run Creek.  The structures function well, allowing unimpeded flow year round, great fish passage, and will handle 100 year flow events.

The Channel realignment is what makes this project work.  The old Deep Creek Culvert made the stream take a hard right turn, then a hard left, making it difficult for high water events and fish passage alike.  The Culvert had failed repeatedly in years past, and was simply not performing as required.

Flooding around Deep Creek Culvert

Flooding around Deep Creek Culvert

By shifting the stream channel back into its more natural position, our partners achieve many things:  First we solve the hard bends and flooding issues that plagued the old culvert. Second, The flood plain is opened up to this small stream, improving water quality and hyporheic flow.  Then also, accesss and quality of habitat is greatly improved to Bull Trout, Redband Trout, Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Trout, all of which are present in this system.  Finally, all of this is accomplished while maintaining recreational and functional access to this beloved, but little known, public area.

Deep Creek Channel Realignment overview

Deep Creek Channel Realignment overview

Partners on this project include Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and The Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative(Ecotrust).  The North Fork John Day Watershed Council is always indebted to our partners and greatly appreciate the work they do to accomplish the things we do together.


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