The Swauk Creek Instream Project took a holistic approach to address human impacts. Swauk Creek is tributary to the Yakima River in northern Kittitas County. The creek is home to Mid-Columbia Steelhead. Other important fish native to the Swauk watershed include Coho salmon, Spring Chinook salmon, Rainbow trout, and bull trout.
Due to historic land uses on-site (grazing and agriculture) and upstream (mining and logging), Swauk Creek was incised and its channel linear. Artificial confinement of the stream and the resultant channel straightening inhibited the stream from accessing its floodplain. This confined the flow to the channel increasing erosive power, which cut down into the channel (incision). As a result, the creek lost the ability to meander and became less complex.
The Swauk Creek Instream Project reversed the trends creating poor habitat along 1.7 miles of stream. To do this, we re-introduced floodplain and channel complexity and connectivity by placing large wood in the creek. We planted native plants to provide shade and cover.