2015 marked a busy year for river work in Salt Lake County. The Salt Lake County Watershed Planning and Restoration Program constructed two major river restoration projects in the Jordan River corridor. Located in Murray is the Jordan River Murray/Taylorsville Ecosystem Restoration Project began phase 1 construction in August and completed major construction activities in December.
This project aims to stabilize the banks of the Jordan River from 5200 S to 4800 S. Incorporated into the Natural Channel Design stabilization methods are the same features as the Winchester project; a stable channel capable of conveying watercraft at any flow, provide improved fish and bird habitat, improve the riparian community plant diversity and sustain major flood flows but with differing structures.
The Toe-Wood structure was the preferred choice of the Watershed team and like Winchester, they assessed, surveyed, designed and managed the construction of the project.
Unlike Winchester, the team did not have an excess vertical offset to accommodate, the major problems here were bank instability, lack of floodplain, invasive species and poor fish habitat. The Toe-Wood Structures were used to stabilize the banks and provide refugia for fish; the rootwads at the end of the structures are installed underwater in scour pools and are designed to counteract the eastward erosion of the banks on the Murray side of the river, providing a slow water covered area for fish.
The soli lifts on top of the Toe-Wood structures were installed to provide a floodplain for high flows, a surface for the 15,000 newly planted native riparian plants to thrive and resistance to soil loss to high flows.
Maintenance on phase one of this project will continue through 2017 as well as construction of phase two, located upstream of phase one in summer of 2016.
The other project completed in 2015 by the Salt Lake County Watershed Restoration and Planning Program was the Jordan River Channel Repair Project at Winchester Street.