Restoring a Stream and Floodplain

Morrison-Maierle’s French Gulch and Moose Creek Restoration Project restored over four miles of stream and riparian floodplain on public land. This area, in southwestern Montana, was mined extensively in the late 1800s and left large remnant tailings piles in the floodplain. This left the area with no connection to a functioning floodplain. As a result, the streams lacked both fluvial and riparian habitats.

In order to restore this area, the team identified distinct reaches to serve as reference conditions to assess the varying levels of restoration based on the degree of impact. Morrison-Maierle used a combination of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), topographic surveys, hydraulic analysis, and geomorphic bioengineering to design and permit this project. As a result, over 100 surveyed cross-sections of the stream channel were analyzed. The newly designed restoration areas with a connection to the floodplain were also used to determine shear stress values and identify particular areas that required more stability and roughness.