Project Spotlight: Frozen Camp Stream Restoration West Virginia
There is a gorgeous Wildlife Management Area (WMA) just outside of Ripley, West Virginia with the Frozen Camp Creek running straight through it. And after generations of agricultural practices pushing the waterway up against the cliffside, it really did run straight through the valley. To improve the health of the stream and surrounding ecosystem, a local contracting team rebuilt over 3 miles of the stream to restore its natural meander. The finishing touch, and we’d argue the most important step, was revegetating the entire floodplain with intentionally selected and densely planted native trees and shrubs. Our team just finished the biggest leg of planting in our Frozen Camp Stream Restoration project, and we were able to accomplish three major goals: stabilization of the riparian area, establish local wildlife habitat, and improve water quality.
One of the most basic functions of our Frozen Camp Stream Restoration project was to stabilize the riparian area around the stream. The heavy equipment needed to rebuild the valley left an understandably significant mark on the area. Without the deep root structures of native plants to hold the banks in place, the stream would inevitably wash back into a straight line. Native species known for their engineering-like qualities, like Cornus amomum and Betula nigra, were planted closest to the bank so the plants could root out quickly and hold the newly placed soil where it belongs. The ArcheWild Projects Team installed thousands of live stakes including these and other species to permanently stabilize the stream edges.
While the live stakes’ primary function is streambank stabilization, the rest of the plants, mostly bare root and containers, serve additional purposes; one of the biggest being local wildlife habitat. Species like wood frogs, rat snakes, crawfish, and migratory birds were just a handful of animals taking up residence in the area before we even finished planting. The West Virginia DNR’s major goal for this planting was establishing Woodcock habitat, so our team selected plants with ample foliage and deep taproots to not only shelter these birds, but also to improve soil health for earthworms: a Woodcock delicacy.
With densely planted banks, the stream will stay put and will provide suitable habitat for local wildlife, but perhaps the longest-term gain from this planting will be improved downstream water quality. Frozen Camp Creek runs through the WMA picking up and depositing whatever it comes in contact with—from weed seeds to pollutants. Shaded banks filled with native plants will keep these types of foreign threats from contaminating the water way. The macroinvertebrates that fish and dryland animals rely on will thrive in a well-filtered and shaded environment. This also means healthier fish will populate the recreational fishing area downstream for locals to enjoy. The positive effects will compound over generations.
Projects like the Frozen Camp Stream Restoration provide arguably permanent solutions to manmade ecological problems. If you have an impacted waterway that needs attention, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on social media so you can stay up to date on our latest project.