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Stream restoration at Denali National Park and Preserve

January 1, 1999

Placer mining for gold has severely disturbed many riparian ecosystems in northern regions. We are conducting a long-term project to test methods to promote restoration of a placer-mined watershed in Denali National Park and Preserve. The project included hydrological restoration of the unstable and excessively confined stream with heavy equipment. We stabilized the floodplain with bioengineering techniques, including alder and willow brush bars anchored laterally to the channel and willow cuttings along the channel. A moderate flood near the end of construction showed that the brush bars provided substantial protection, but some bank erosion and changes in slope and sinuosity occurred. Subsequent refinements included greater sinuosity and channel depth, pool/riffie construction with stone weirs, and buried alder and willow brush projecting from the bank. The reconstructed stream and floodplain have remained stable for five years, but have not been re-tested by a another large flood. The willow/alder riparian plant community is naturally revegetating on the new floodplains, but vigorous willows which sprouted from branches in brush bars and banks still provide the erosion protection.

Publication Year 1999
Title Stream restoration at Denali National Park and Preserve
Authors Roseann V. Densmore, Kenneth F. Karle
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70185977
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse