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Home » News/Events » The Journal » July 2011 » Bear River Levee Set-Back Approaches 5th Year

Bear River Levee Set-Back Approaches 5th Year

Bear River project's meandering grassy swale, designed with the help of flood control engineers and planted by River Partners.

In September 2006, River Partners began planting an innovative, multi-benefit flood management project at the confluence of the Bear and Feather Rivers, known as the Bear River Levee Set-Back. River Partners came on as a restoration partner to assist the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority in producing the native re-vegetation component to support the public safety aims of the new set-back levee construction. This 639-acre restoration serves to provide a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Improved floodwater conveyance in the expanded floodway
  • Restored fish, wildlife, and riparian habitat in the project area
  • Minimized long-term operation and maintenance costs

This scene (above photo) of a meandering grassy swale through the willows captures the Bear River Set-Back restoration almost five years after construction, and reflects how it has matured into a fully functioning floodplain. On the day this photo was taken (June 23, 2011) several wildlife species were using the swale: Great Blue Heron, Western Grebe, garter snake, fish and frogs of various sizes.

Bear River project. Photo by River Partners staff

The 2,500 feet long swale was designed by flood control engineers as an escape route for fish when flood waters recede off the floodplain. River Partners planted the swale with native grasses, basket sedge, and a suite of woody plants as rose, blackberry, elderberry, ash, cottonwood and willows.

The above article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of the River Partners Journal.