North Fork John Day Watershed Council
U.S. Forest Service, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon Water Resources Department
Desolation Creek LLC is located on 13,400 acres in northern Grant County along the lower 10 miles of Desolation Creek. As most of the abundant springs and wet meadows there are undeveloped, the land and waters are home to a variety of Oregon’s most iconic species, including Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, white-headed woodpecker, golden and bald eagles, bull trout, Chinook salmon, and steelhead. The wet meadows and riparian areas of Desolation Creek LLC are prime water sources for livestock and wildlife.
Property-wide, unprotected wet meadows were degraded, largely because of past land management practices. Where spring flows once contributed quality cold water to Desolation Creek, several became compacted and “hummocked” to the degree that water was no longer moving across the meadows. Instead, water collected in hoof impressions and either evaporated or warmed significantly before re-entering the system. Over-browsing eliminated protective vegetation around springs and discharge channels, resulting in down-cutting, channel incision, and riparian degradation.
The Desolation Creek LLC Wet Meadows Restoration project addressed deteriorating wet meadows on the property by installing 23,164 linear feet of fencing and eliminating livestock access to approximately 57 acres of these highly sensitive areas. Additionally, 7 alternative water sources were developed outside the meadows for cattle and wildlife. These efforts will aid
the Desolation Creek watershed in repairing and restoring wet meadow vegetation, reducing sedimentation concerns, lowering groundwater input temperatures, and increasing ground water storage capacity and duration.
For complete reports on this and other OWEB projects, please search OWEB's Grant Management System (OGMS).