Capitalizing on Flooding as Passive. Hearts and Minds of the Musselshell

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1 Capitalizing on Flooding as Passive Restoration: Hearts and Minds of the Musselshell Karin Boyd Applied Geomorphology, Inc. Chris Boyer, Kestrel Aerial Services, Inc.

2 Strategically t Adopting Flood Impacts as Passive Restoration Requires a good sell for the No Action alternative That opportunity is time-sensitive Culturally un-nerving Program flexibility helps

3 ~ sq mii

4 Historic Impacts: :The Milwaukee Road ( ) 19% Shortening over ~100 Miles Extensive Floodplain Isolation Chris Boyer, Kestrel Aerial Services, Inc.

5 Pre-Flood Incised Isolated Floodplain (Vertical and Lateral) Cleared Riparian Corridor Fish Passage Barriers

6 Spring 2011 Massive Snowpack, Late Melt, Heavy Rains

7 Spring 2011 Massive Snowpack, Late Melt, Heavy Rains Average Snowpack

8 Spring 2011 Massive Snowpack, Late Melt, Heavy Rains 2011 Snowpack

9 Spring 2011 Massive Snowpack, Late Melt, Heavy Rains 2011 RAIN

10 May-June, 2011 (Billings Gazette)

11 Peak Discharge of ~130 year event Chris Boyer, Kestrel Aerial Services, Inc.

12 Duration: Weeks of high flows Q10 Roundup = 4,850 cfs Q10 Mosby = 12,700 cfs

13 April 26, 2010

14 May 23, 2011 (Peak)

15 June 16, 2011 (Recession)

16 Chris Boyer, Kestrel Aerial Services, Inc

17

18 Musselshell Watershed Rehabilitation Project DNRC Proposal Submitted August 29, 2011 Lower Musselshell Conservation District Develop a multi-disciplined assessment team to work with impacted producers developing plans respectful to their needs and the river. RIVER ASSESSMENT TRIAGE TEAM (RATT)

19 The RATT Riparian Ecology Hydrology Agriculture Water Rights Fisheries Geomorphology

20 Fall Site Visits

21 1. Assess Impacts RATT Responsibilities 2. Develop Short-Term Strategies 3. Develop Long-Term Strategies 4. Identify Conservation Opportunities 5. Identify Resources 6. Develop Monitoring Strategies 7. Provide Each Landowner With a Site Report

22

23 Types of Damage Avulsions Breached Railroad Berms Floodplain Deposition Siphon Damage Floodplain Scour Pump Site Damage Lost Access Diversion Structure Breaches

24 Conservation Opportunities Inset Floodplain Development Floodplain Access Fish Passage Riparian i Recovery Habitat Rejuvenation Wetland Creation We should leverage this catastrophe for the public good.

25 Avulsions: 59 total ~37 Miles of Channel Abandoned

26 Abandon ned Channel Len ngth (ft) MusselshellRiver 2011 Abandoned Channel Length R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Cumulative Length River Mile ned (miles) Cumulative Length Abando ~37 Miles of 2009 Channel Abandoned

27 2009

28 2011

29 2009

30 2011

31 Avulsion Concerns Pump Sites Roads/Access Erosion

32 Avulsion Opportunities Targeted Recharge Wetland Function Riparian Protections

33 Governor approves abbreviated process for changes in point of diversion (POD) Pump Site Pump Site

34 Railroad Grade Breaches

35 Concerns: Flood Control A total of 31 Breaches Erosion Control Road Access

36 Opportunities: Overflow Return Points

37 Floodplain Deposition Chris Boyer, Kestrel Aerial Service

38 Concerns: Floodplain Deposition Crop Suitability Weeds

39 Opportunity: Riparian Recovery

40

41

42 NRCS Creates Cottonwood Easement Program Flood Damage Recovery Special Initiative

43 Fall 2012 Averages 129,000 Cottonwoods/acre 17,000 Willows/acre

44 350 Miles of Restoration in Three Weeks Passage Barrier Removal Riparian Colonization LWD Inset Floodplain

45 The RATT Approach Conveying a coordinated, d consistent t message towards an ecologically- supportive outcome. Get out there fast Listen to the story Go multidisciplinary Document the event Make a case for opportunity Monitor the results

46 Special thanks to: Chris Boyer (Kestrel Aviation) Bill Milt Bill Milton (Musselshell Watershed Coalition)

47 Musselshell RATT

48

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