SISTERS, OR -- Work continues at Creekside Park in Sisters, between Locust St. and Highway 20. Following the city’s construction of a pedestrian bridge over Whychus Creek and installation of a sewer line, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council is now preparing for a major restoration project to improve habitat in the creek.
"We’re also improving fish passage and providing some nice access points for the public to get down to the creek," Executive Director Kris Knight tells KBND News, "We’re going to have some stone steps that go down to the creek in four different spots. And then, the rest of the creek, we’re going to put up some split-rail fence and replant along the streambanks."
Knight says it’s a continuation of what he calls a restoration success story: 20 years ago, Whychus Creek would go dry every summer. Now it flows year-round and native fish are being reintroduced to the waterway. "We’re doing this project in part to improve fish habitat, for reintroduction of salmon and steelhead. But, it’s also beneficial to the public to improve this local park and create better access points down to Whychus Creek at Creekside Park."
Once complete, Knight says Creekside Park will look very different, "Right now, there’s some eroding banks that have orange fencing up, that are kind of a hazard. So, those are going to slope down. There’s going to be trees planted in those areas and there’s going to be more boulders in the creek. There’s going to be some pieces of wood that look more natural. And, there’s going to be a fence up along both sides of the park, but there’s going to be four access points - two on each side, where people can walk down some stone steps and get down to the creek and enjoy it without the banks eroding."
Large equipment will start arriving next week, for this next phase. Knight says work will kick off the first week in August and will last about three weeks. Creekside Campground will remain open but hiker and biker campsites will be relocated away from the creek during construction. In the fall, school groups will help plant trees and shrubs along the creek. Work should be completed by the end of November.
The $300,000 project is funded by grants from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pelton Round Butte Fund, and the Sunderland Foundation.