The incised and degraded habitat of Bridge Creek, tributary to the John Day River in central Oregon, is thought to be limiting the local population of ESA-listed steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Restoration efforts for this watershed are aimed to improve their habitat through reconnecting the channel with portions of its former floodplain (now terraces) to increase stream habitat complexity and the extent of riparian vegetation. This is being done via the installation of over a hundred beaver dam support (BDS) structures that are designed to either mimic beaver dams or support existing beaver dams. The overall objective of this study is to determine if the BDS structures have had an effect on stream channel habitat complexity and thermal refugia in selected sections of Bridge Creek. Analysis of stream temperature data in restoration treatment and control areas will show the effects of beaver dams on stream temperature. Analysis of aerial imagery and high resolution topographic data will exhibit how the number and types of geomorphic units have changed after the construction of beaver dams. Combined, the results of this research are aimed to increase our understanding of how beaver dams impact fish habitat and stream temperature.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joseph_wheaton/91/