Johnson Creek closed over winter for restoration project

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

The Johnson Creek Access Site in Clark Fork will be closed until approximately April 1, 2020 due to the Idaho Fish and Game’s Clark Fork Delta Restoration Project Phase 2 starting. The closure is necessary to provide the contractor a location to stage supplies and equipment, while protecting the public and contractor from unsafe conditions associated with an active construction site.

The “crawling stumps” of the Clark Fork Delta. Photo by Ben Olson.

“The big emphasis on the construction activities there are aimed at restoration of the Clark Fork Delta itself,” said Andy Dux of Idaho Fish and Game. “As a side benefit, we’re going to have the opportunity to upgrade the Johnson Creek Access site.”

Dux said the boat ramp will be widened at Johnson Creek and the parking lot improved with regraveling. Banks will also be stabilized so the parking lot isn’t subject to further erosion if the Clark Fork River reaches high flows.

During the closure, the Clark Fork Driftyard Access Site will provide the nearest alternate access point for launching watercraft. This site is located on the north side of the Clark Fork Delta and will remain open until Feb. 1, 2020. A seasonal closure occurs during the spring thaw, but the site will be re-opened as soon as road conditions allow.

Planning, design, and environmental documentation for the Clark Fork Delta Restoration Project began in 2014. The project was divided into three phases: construction of Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2015, Phase 2 of the project is now under way and full completion of all phases of the project is anticipated by December 2029.

The primary goal of the Clark Fork Delta Restoration Project is to improve and restore important riparian and wetland habitats being impacted as a result of the operational impacts of Albeni Falls Dam, as well as improving water quality by reducing erosion. To accomplish this goal, the project modifies existing land forms, creates additional land forms, adds erosion protection features, plants and seeds vegetation, and controls noxious weeds throughout the Clark Fork Delta.

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