State and federal agency staff and volunteers completed a habitat restoration project on the Upper East Verde River on Feb. 26-27. The project took place in a popular section of stream that supports wild rainbow trout and is managed under a catch-and-release, artificial fly and lure only regulation. Recent fire and subsequent flooding has incised this section of stream to bedrock, resulting in marginal in-stream habitat for wild trout.
Logs were used to form regular pool drop structures that are meant to capture and retain sediment to provide additional fish cover in these pools. Logs were placed in four locations with two logs forming a weir (low dam). Rocks and leaves were placed on the upstream side of the structures to aid in sediment collection. Results were noticed immediately as pool depth increased by several inches on the upstream side of the structures.
Participating organizations and individuals on this project included the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Tonto National Forest, Natural Channel Design, and volunteers from the Mogollon Sporting Association, Payson Flycasters/Gila Trout Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Zane Grey Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Phoenix), and Old Pueblo Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Tucson).
An excellent story about this project by Jim Strogen ran in the March 5 edition of the Payson Roundup.