2010’s Habitat Projects

Little Brule 2017

Project involved cutting tag alder along a thousand-foot section of stream. The alder was tipping into the stream, choking the stream habitat, and shading streamside evergreen forest growth. DNR staff used chain saws while the club’s volunteers cut alder with loppers and removed cut stems from the stream. The project should help maintain trout habitat and assist evergreen growth, promoting a forest that will eventually be unfavorable beaver food. This stream reach had been inundated by beaver in the late 1970s and was the first habitat project conducted by the Club in 1979 – 1981 (click on First Project to read about what what was done then).

Click for Little Brule photos.

Rainbow Bend Woody Cover 2016

Large woody cover, comprised of cut sections of trees and clean (dirt free) root wads, was installed to increase instream cover in an outside bend where Cutler/Castle Creek empties into the Brule River. Four complex “log jam” structures were installed using a jet pump and anchored into the stream bottom. All wood was installed below the waterline so as not to obstruct canoe traffic.  These structures will provide more diverse habitat in this section of stream for both invertebrates and fish, especially in winter when instream weed beds have died back.

Click for Rainbow Bend photos.

East and West Fork Repairs 2015

The 2015 projects involved repairing DNR/BRSC spawning areas originally built 19 – 22 years ago.  On July 18th and August 1st, maintenance was done on the east fork of the Brule where 4 spawning areas were repaired.  Two of the 4 restored sites were so remote that the gravel had been originally placed there by Wisconsin National Guard helicopters in 1995.  Since then, spawning trout and salmon had moved the gravel 10 – 20 feet downstream.  This gravel was moved back upstream in small boats.  Three of the 4 spawning sites also had been damaged by beaver activity, and that damaged was repaired.  Additionally, bankside alder and willow was cut back to reinvigorate valuable bank vegetation.  On August 15th, work was done on the Brule’s west fork where stream flow over 3 brook trout spawning sites built by DNR/BRSC efforts in 1994 and 1996 was improved.  Over time, water leaking around a water control structure had reduced flow over the habitat areas.  West fork repairs involved removing the boulders of the failing structure and rebuilding a new one about 20 feet upstream.  Alder and willow growing along a spawning channel was also removed to improve the growth of other more valuable tree/shrub species.

Click for Brule East Fork or Brule West Fork photos.

Beaupre Springs Restoration 2012 to 2014

Beaupre Springs Creek receives its water from a 1.5-acre spring pond locally known as Beaupre or Rifle Range Springs, and it flows for an estimated 1,500 feet through an open alder/willow meadow and a series of beaver impoundments.  Historically, this stream likely flowed through a cedar/spruce/tamarack forest that probably was cut away during the logging days in the early 1900’s.  We believe that shortly after the cut over, beaver moved into this area, feeding on the young growth of willow, alder and aspen.  Repetitive beaver use since drowned out any chance of a natural re-growth of the evergreen forest.  Beaver occupation has severely degraded the stream’s trout habitat.  Their impoundments raise summer water temperatures and reduce volume of flow due to evaporation off the ponds and sediments burying spawning gravels.  In fact, the stream channel below the impoundments was dry when the project began in 2012.  We’ve attempted to reverse the long-standing losses by first gradually removing the dams and dewatering the impoundments.  We’ve removed small woody debris plugs in the channels which should begin the process of uncovering and restoring the historic channel.  We also repeated this process on the small unnamed east fork tributary.  Good water flow has been restored to the channel below the lowest dam site since 2012.

Click for Beaupre Springs photos.

Rocky Run Channel Rehabilitation 2010 and 2011

Work to restore habitat on Rocky Run began in 2010.  The project is similar to the one completed for Sandy Run in 2009. DNR crews first cut problem brush, primarily alder, along the stream.  The club then removed 2 beaver dams and selectively removed woody debris from the center of the stream channel.  This should will help narrow the channel and flush built-up sediment away.  As for Sandy Run in the past few years, 4 work days were held in July and August.

The stream channel has flushed through much of the accumulated streambed sediment as a result of the 2010 habitat work, especially in the area of the beaver impoundment.  Maintenance work in 2011 removed additional debris that had been uncovered due to the flushing.

Click for Rocky Run photos.

Sandy Run Channel Rehabilitation 2007 to 2011

During the summers of 2007 – 2009, the club worked on a habitat project on Sandy Run from Hwy 27 to the Little Brule.  Prior to the club project, DNR personnel worked to improve spawning habitat in the upper reaches of Sandy Run.  In spring of 2007, DNR personnel cut stream-side alders in the project area.  Club members spent 4 mornings in July and August each year removing small woody debris from the stream channel to provide living space for trout.

By 2011, the stream channel had flushed through much of the accumulated stream bed sand.  Maintenance work in 2011 removed additional debris that had been uncovered due to the sand flushing occurring since 2009.

Click for Sandy Run photos.