Friday, April 18, 2014

Kilpatrick Pond project mostly done

Goal is to restore natural conditions in creek system

Express Staff Writer

Intermountain Aquatics workers Michael Howard of Bellevue, Josh Switzer of Ketchum and Garren Dorris of Texas roll out wetlands sod composed of sedges and rushes embedded in coconut fiber around Kilpatrick Pond on Wednesday. Photo by Roland Lane

     Work on an over $1 million project to restore Kilpatrick Pond at Silver Creek Preserve to more natural conditions has been mostly completed, with only replanting to be done over the next two growing seasons.

     The project, designed by Brockway Engineering, was begun last fall by The Nature Conservancy and the Purdy family, which split ownership of the pond. It is intended to address artificially high water temperatures and sediment buildup at the pond by rechannelizing the stream and creating adjacent wetlands. According to The Nature Conservancy, which owns the Silver Creek Preserve, conditions at the pond have been affecting more than 15 miles of creek downstream.

     Conservation Manager Dayna Gross said the Purdys diverted water from the pond into an irrigation ditch last fall, and local contractors Jim Adams and Gary McStay moved excavation equipment into the pond bottom and pushed sediment there into two islands. She said the pond’s dam has been replaced, with four pipes beneath it to release water and a fish ladder over the top.

     “Now the fish can get up and down the system,” she said.

     Gross said sediment in the northern, Conservancy-owned portion of the pond dried out during early winter, and earth-moving work there was done in February. She said the bottom of most of the pond was raised by 6-8 inches using dirt taken from its northern side, which will now become a wetlands area.

     That work was originally scheduled for next fall, but Gross said project managers decided to go ahead with it since creek flows were so low and there was no snow in the area.

     Gross said this spring’s planting around the area will be completed this week, with rushes and sedges planted in several bands around the pond at different levels depending on the amount of moisture each type of plant requires.

     “It will take a while to get established,” she said. “This year it will look pretty barren.”

     Gross said shrubs will be planted around the pond in the fall.

     She said a $50,000 grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Council’s Wetlands Reserve Program paid for 75 percent of the cost of buying the plants. She said The Nature Conservancy will have spent about $200,000 on replanting by next spring.

The project was completed on a portion of the pond owned by The Nature Conservancy upstream from Kilpatrick Pond Road, left graphic, and on a portion owned by the Purdy family downstream from the road, right graphic.
Graphic courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

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