Indian Creek Ground Water Monitoring

Several years ago, the Yakama Nation placed approximately 1,000 trees on the Indian Creek floodplain. The creek had become disconnected from its floodplain. Over time, the Indian Creek cut down into the channel bed and in some places, it was incised as much as 6 feet. Kittitas Conservation Trust partnered with the Yakama Nation to provide monitoring that collects groundwater elevation and temperature data along a 1-mile reach of Indian Creek to learn how the restoration changes the groundwater table.

As a result of this project, we expect the floodplain geometry and habitat to change. Instead of the creek cutting down further into the bed, the large wood will push water out onto the floodplain and sediment will slowly fill in the incised creek. As the creek reconnects with the floodplain, the habitat will become more complex (aka. a better home for fish). 

This monitoring project is specifically designed to record and archive:

–  visual changes to the floodplain landscape
–  the physical cross-section of the floodplain
–  surface water flow and groundwater levels
–  water temperature data

When wood is placed in streams, it typically slows down runoff and retains water. Over a long period of time our monitoring with detect changes in hydrology as a result of the large woody debris project. To obtain complete data, KCT utilizes one permanent stream gage, performs periodic streamflow measurements, records water level data from 4 piezometers, and is developing a catalogue of photographs showing the landscape and vegetation changes in response to the large woody debris project.

Developing A Stewardship Model

In 2013, the Washington Department of Natural Resources acquired nearly 50,000 acres of private forest land (formerly owned by American Forest Holdings) within the Teanaway River basin. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for developing the conservation overlay for the riparian lands within the Teanaway basin. This large woody debris project will serve as a demonstration project for long term management and stewardship of riparian lands within the Teanaway Community forest.

Additional Information

This information was found in the Department of Ecology Quality Assurance Project Plan is available on Ecology’s website:

Project Details

Date Completed

General Area
East of North Fork of the Teanaway River


Removal of fish barrier and increased and improved habitat for fish

Photo Gallery

indian creek flooding
cattle grazing adjacent to indian creek
bank erosion on indian prior to wood placement