Habitat Project

Bird Track Springs

The Bird Track Springs Project Area is located along approximately 1.9 miles of the Grande Ronde River adjacent to State Highway 244. The area encompasses 1.2 miles of river on Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands and 0.7 miles on privately owned lands.

The Bird Track Springs (BTS) Project Area is located along approximately 1.9 miles of the Grande Ronde River adjacent to State Highway 244. The area encompasses 1.2 miles of river on Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (WWNF) system lands and 0.7 miles on privately-owned lands along the reach beginning at river mile 146.1 downstream to river mile 144.2. The project seeks to enhance habitat within UGR Atlas BSR Assessment Unit 11, an area that provides critical winter habitat for juvenile spring Chinook salmon and a significant opportunity to increase cold water refuge for summer rearing. Historic floodplain and stream channel alterations, including but not limited to, systematic removal of beavers, channelization, historical logging and splash-dams, agriculture, railroad and road construction, livestock grazing and vegetation clearing, and placer mining, have contributed to habitat degradation and loss of habitat suitability and capacity to support recovery of spring Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout. Sediment, water temperature, low stream flows and, channel morphology and large wood/completed (habitat quality and quantity) are the most critical limiting factors for these salmonid populations. Restoration objectives seek to promote instream structural diversity and complexity by reconnecting historic floodplain and side channel network, promoting natural channel function and form, increasing instream and floodplain structural diversity through large wood complex additions that promote roughness, scour, sorting and storage of sediment, and development of a diverse assemblage of riffle, pool, glide, side channel, and alcove habitats. Increasing hydrodynamic diversity and function will alleviate summer maximum water temperatures, increase winter water temperatures, discourage anchor ice formation, and moderate and buffer diurnal water temperature fluctuations during both summer and winter rearing periods. Over-widened plane-bed channel form was converted into multi-thread and island-braided system with decreased width to depth ratios that will increase the inundation frequency and duration of historic floodplain while promoting the interaction and function of hyporheic groundwater exchange. Project actions will facilitate development of diverse and abundant native plant communities and seral stages that contribute to the floodplain process and function. In conjunction with natural channel and floodplain objectives, a combination of riparian and wetland habitat protection, planting and seeding, and natural recruitment will result in increased tree, shrub, and herbaceous plant communities that are resilient and self-sustaining, contributing to shade, structure, terrestrial food web, streambank stability, and future large wood recruitment. Additional objectives seek to increased habitat suitability and beaver recolonization that will complement restoration activities and reinvigorate natural habitat forming processes that create floodplain wetlands, pools, and vegetation diversity. Off-channel pools and wetland complexes created and maintained by beaver provide deep, low velocity habitat, instream and floodplain complexity and buffer high summer and low winter water temperatures.

Project Lead: CTUIR

Project Collaborators: Bureau of Reclamation, CTUIR, Landowners, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Transportation, US Forest Service, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

First Foods this project targets


River Vision Touchstones this project targets

Aquatic Biota
Riparian Vegetation

Project Funders

Funder Funding Amount
Bonneville Power Administration$2,011,291
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board$507,016

File Library

Title File Description
BTS Basis for Design ReportBTS_BDR.pdfUploaded file BTS_BDR.pdf
BTS Design DrawingsBTS FINAL FULL SET.pdfUploaded file BTS FINAL FULL SET.pdf
BTS Overview MapBird Track Spring Overview Map.pdfUploaded file Bird Track Spring Overview Map.pdf
BTS Poster DNR Presentation 2020Grande Ronde Habitat Poster DNR Meeting February, 2020.pdfUploaded file Grande Ronde Habitat Poster DNR Meeting February, 2020.pdf
BTS Presentation 2020BTS Presentation 2020.pdfUploaded file BTS Presentation 2020.pdf
BTS Presentation NPCC 2021BTS NPCC Presentation 2021.pdfUploaded file BTS NPCC Presentation 2021.pdf
BTS Project Completion ReportBirdTrackSpringsCompletedProjectReport.pdfUploaded file BirdTrackSpringsCompletedProjectReport.pdf
BTS Project Summary SnapshotBTS Snapshot.pdfUploaded file BTS Snapshot.pdf
BTS Tour Handout 2019BTS Handout Nov 2019.pdfUploaded file BTS Handout Nov 2019.pdf
DJI_0070.jfifDJI_0070.jfifUploaded file DJI_0070.jfif

Image Gallery

Title File Description
BTS Aerial PhotoUploaded file BTS 2020 Flood Combined.png
BTS Aerial PhotoUploaded file BTS.JPG
BTS Aerial PhotoUploaded file MC SC3 viewing downstream BTS.PNG
BTS Aerial PhotoUploaded file SC1 SC2 BTS.PNG
BTS Aerial PhotoUploaded file SC4 MC BTS.PNG
BTS Aerial PhotoUploaded file Upper MC BTS.PNG
BTS Aerial Photo April 2019Uploaded file 2019-4-9_Bird_Track_Springs_Pano.jpg
BTS Aerial Photo Dec 2018Uploaded file 2018-12-19_BTS_pano.png
BTS Comparison Imagery 2017-2018Uploaded file 2017-2018BTSComparisonLow-ResGRMW.png
BTS Ortho Imagery 2019Uploaded file 2019-11-14_Bird_Track_Springs_ImageryOverview.png