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Copper Creek In-Stream Habitat Restoration Project

This project improved riparian zones, water quality, appropriate sediment flows and restoring physical habitat for multiple listed aquatic species in the Copper Creek watershed, within the Upper Tennessee River Basin. (Photo: The low water bridge that was removed and replaced with a new bridge that spans the river. )

 

Background Information

In 2009, FAF, NRCS, and USFWS began working together to enhance and restore aquatic habitat in the Copper Creek watershed within the Upper Tennessee River Basin.  USFWS chose Copper Creek as a priority watershed because of the presence of one of the last remaining populations of purple bean (Villosa perpurpurea) and the only population of duskytail darter (Etheostoma percnurum).  USFWS is actively conducting research, enhancement, restoration, and protection of the entire 61 mile long stream and 85,593 acre Copper Creek watershed. The primary objective of the 2010 SARP projects included improving riparian zones, improving water quality, improving appropriate sediment flows and restoring physical habitat for multiple listed aquatic species.

 

The Problem:

Unrestricted livestock access has caused sedimentation problems and eliminated most of the riparian zone in areas of Copper Creek.

The Objective:

 

Downstream View of New Bridge
Photo showing the downstream view of the new bridge installed over Copper Creek.

The objective of this project was to restore in-stream habitat for freshwater fish and mussels by excluding livestock and re-designing the instream habitat.  The exclusion of livestock would remove a source of nutrient and sediment input, and restoring the riparian zones would act to filter the run-off before it enters the creek.

 


 

 

 

The funding from NFHP has been spent and deliverables on the ground have already exceeded targets.  Additional funding from partners is still being spent on additional projects in the watershed to further exceed targets.

 

 

Scott Site Before Project Downstream
Downstream view of the Scott project site before the project.

 

Construction

This project improved in-stream habitat through the use of log and rock structures and repair the stream backs to reduce erosion. Fencing was installed to exclude livestock, and riparian areas were restored and revegetated with native trees and vegetation. In addition, the project will be used for future landowner workshops to educate other residents in the watershed and promote the conservation tools available. Outreach materials will be prepared including brochures for distribution.

 

After Project Photo of Scott Project Site Looking Downstream
After Project Photo of Scott Project Site Looking Downstream

 

 

Virginia. Within AppLCC boundary.
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