Corps, Conservancy to restore Camp Creek

Aquatic ecosystem restoration planners examine erosion in the stream below one of the small dams slated for removal on Camp Creek.

photo/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Nature Conservancy are teaming up for an aquatic ecosystem restoration project on Camp Creek in the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve.

According to an agreement signed Feb. 26, the project will remove small dams and livestock ponds that are sources of erosion that impact water quality and also a barrier to aquatic species.

A National Riparian Service Team assessment identified the project area as at risk of continued degradation in 2002.

The Nature Conservancy contacted the Walla Walla district of the Corps for planning, design and construction for restoration of Camp Creek to a more natural, free flowing condition, to reestablish native riparian vegetation and to remove small dams that contribute high levels of sediment into endangered steelhead spawning and rearing habitat.

Funds for this project were appropriated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Corps is authorized to undertake such projects in the public interest under a 1996 water resources law.

As the non-federal partner, The Nature Conservancy will provide 35 percent of the cost of this project, which won't be determined until the bids are awarded.

Lt. Col. Michael J. Farrell, commander of the Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, defines cost-sharing opportunities like this program as "win-win for everyone."

"Partnering on projects like these restore and protect valuable natural resources, and infuses funds into local economies." he said

Russell Hoeflich, Oregon director for The Nature Conservancy, agreed.

"We're excited that the restoration of Camp Creek will contribute to the healthy recovery of fish and other wildlife in northeast Oregon, and we're delighted to partner with the Corps of Engineers, because they bring expertise and knowledge about how to restore a naturally functioning stream ecosystem," he said.

The construction contract for HUBZone small businesses anticipates a bid will be selected and the contract awarded near the end of March.

Interested HUBZone small businesses should submit their bids via (www.FBO.gov) - solicitation number W912EF-10-B-0003. Work on this project is slated to begin in July with a projected completion by November.

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