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. The first to begin construction was the Jordan River Channel Repair Project at Winchester Street. This project aimed to eliminate one of the most hazardous navigational barriers in the entire river corridor. The Salt Lake County Watershed team assessed, surveyed, designed and managed the construction of the project. It was completed late summer 2015.
Using Natural Channel Design, the team set out to construct 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. To accomplish all of these goals the team chose to construct a moderately entrenched structurally controlled channel with regularly spaced scour pools. The channel had to accommodate eight vertical feet of elevation loss which was distributed through the riffle sections, shallow fast moving turbulent water. The riffles were bracketed by Cross Vane Structures with six foot deep scour pools following the vanes to slow the water after the riffles, provide refugia for fish and provide a slow moving safe exit point for boaters who capsize.
A 25 foot wide bankfull bench was also constructed to provide a floodplain for high flows, a surface for the 4500 newly planted native riparian plants to thrive and as a viewing area for nearby trail users.
Maintenance in the form of weed spray and removal and irrigation work will continue for the next year under county control then will be turned over to the capable hands of Murray City, a project partner.
Also located in Murray is the other river project undertaken by the Salt Lake County Watershed team in 2015: the Jordan River Murray/Taylorsville Ecosystem Restoration Project.