Workers have begun a project to improve a stream and its banks at Bordeaux Creek Wildlife Management Area near Chadron.
Brett Roberg, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission fisheries biologist, said the project on Big Bordeaux Creek is expected to increase stream-angling opportunities, provide cleaner water and increase resilience to drought and flooding.
The project’s primary goal is to regrade a floodplain along the creek to safeguard the active stream channel during times of high water and improve recreational access for anglers. Rocks, trees and other natural materials will be positioned in the stream to diversify habitat for both trout and native fish.
“Given the limited number of cool-water streams that fall on public lands in Nebraska, our project team recognized the need for enhancing and conserving the diversity of habitats found at Bordeaux Creek WMA,” Roberg said. “Stream access and high-quality habitats had been previously limited by the vertical stream banks and elevated erosion, causing a decrease in water quality and a reduction in the desirable habitats for fish.”
Upon completion, anglers will find many fewer obstacles to casting a line along the creek. Areas along the stream also will be reseeded with a diverse mixture of native grasses and supplemented with trees and shrubs. The improvements are expected to damper stream bank erosion and expand the riparian buffer to further improve water quality.
Leading up to the habitat improvements, Game and Parks employees and volunteers tagged about 1,000 fish within the wildlife area and will assess how they respond to the new habitat conditions with follow-up surveys.
The Bordeaux Creek project is part of Game and Parks’ comprehensive Cool Water Stream Management Plan, which strives to support productive and sustainable populations of aquatic life, have healthy riparian zones and clean water, and contribute to watershed stability. Roberg said the project will serve as an exemplary demonstration site for stewardship and sustainability when it is completed.
The project is likely to be finished by the end of the year. It is being funded by proceeds of the Aquatic Habitat Stamp, which is included in the purchase of fishing permits, and a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Big Bordeaux Creek, which originates from springs in the Pine Ridge, meanders northward through a 1-mile section at the west end of the 1,915-acre wildlife area before later merging with Little Bordeaux Creek and the White River. The section of creek is about 3 miles east of Chadron.