By Tina Blewett, Regional Biologist

Crab Creek Wetland depression prior to construction.

Ducks Unlimited and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently partnered on a wetland, riparian and creek restoration project involving a portion of the south fork of Crab Creek in Lincoln County, Washington. Set on a 30-acre, formerly-farmed meadow, this project contains ditches that connect a spring-fed area to the south fork channel. The spring and creeks are perennial and provide critical water supply for wildlife during the hot, arid months of June through September.

The project objectives were to provide a cattle crossing for the south fork of Crab Creek to prevent further bank erosion and allow equipment access across the creek, to create a riparian bench and re-grade the banks of Crab Creek to a more gentle slope, as well as restore riparian trees and shrub and excavate shallow depressions in the meadow system that functions as seasonal wetlands.

Construction finished in December of 2016 and a site visit this May proved that if you build it, wildlife will come. The two wetland depressions contained nine different pairs of waterfowl from 7 different species (American wigeon, gadwall, mallard, ruddy duck, northern shoveler, cinnamon teal, and Northern pintail), and many other birds. This area is open to the public, and several locals that enjoy deer and waterfowl hunting often stopped at the site during construction. Waterfowl hunting formerly consisted of jump-hunting a few ducks from the incised creek channel, but the new wetland basins will provide greater opportunity for wildlife and hunters alike.