McKay Creek 2nd restoration phase underway in Ochocos

The McKay Creek restoration project is underway and looking to wrap up phase two of the project by the middle of August.

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The McKay Creek Large Wood and Floodplain Restoration Project is in Phase 2 this summer.

The project aims to get the creek back to its natural state after years of being manipulated for various uses.

The project will increase the complexity of the stream by adding large woody debris to the area that flows into the Crooked River. 

Susan Garner, a spokesman for the Ochoco National Forest, said Tuesday that with the new system in place, the hope is that the creek will be the perfect spot for steelhead and trout to thrive.

“The hope is that as the stream becomes more natural, and there is less sediment in the stream," Garner said. "The redband trout and the steelhead will have a greater opportunity for spawning or flowing up and down the river.”

The project is viewed as a reset of the ecosystem, to get it back on track and balanced.

John Kochersberger, a hydrologist for the Forest Service, said while projects of this type tend to take a while to complete, in many instances they have been very successful.

“Patience with stream restoration, it doesn’t happen immediately," Kochersberger said.  "You can see that in many places where there have been many successful projects. You give it a few years, and a place starts to look pretty amazing.”

When completed, officials say the restored creek will bring a welcome change to the Ochoco National Forest.

Phase 2 of the project, to get the floodplain of the stream to flow properly, is scheduled to be completed by the middle of August.

Phase 3 of the project will add more logs downstream to hold back the water a bit. It's set to pick up next summer as the restoration project is finished.

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