Margaret Creek Restoration Completed!

from Rob Cadmus, Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition (SAWC)

Intensive industrial logging in the 1950-1980s damaged floodplain, riparian, and stream habitat in the Margaret Creek Watershed.

Most old-growth timber growing on the banks of upper Margaret Creek was harvested.

Logging greatly impacted fish habitat in Margaret Creek, resulting in the US Forest Service prioritizing restoration. SAWC joined forces with the Forest Service & Ketchikan Indian Community to improve stream function and fish habitat.

Heavy Machine Work Completed - Thanks to the US Forest Service!

After two seasons of work, the large-scale, heavy equipment, restoration work in Margaret Creek is complete!  


Heavy machinery began work in 2021 and work continued through July of 2022.  

In total, 1.25 miles of fish habitat has been restored.

Heavy equipment was used to place whole trees and root wads into Margaret Creek to create fish habitat.


  • constructed 22 large woody debris structures
  • removed four log culverts that were impeding fish passage
  • removed 1000 feet of road fill to reopen natural connectivity

A heavy machine digs up an old bridge near Margaret Creek. 

A newly created log jam. Logs were placed using heavy machinery.

Hand tool restoration work to continue...

In addition to the heavy equipment work, a crew from the Ketchikan Indian Community, Forest Service, and SAWC used hand tools and muscle power to add large wood to stream reaches inaccessible or inappropriate for heavy equipment. This work will continue through 2023.  

Forest Service staff Hunter Lucas and Mark Eldridge (front) and Allen Cline from KIC (back) work to position blocks to use a winch to pull a log into the stream. 

A trio work to position a log to be pulled into the stream channel. 

Amy Hayward and Josephine Guthrie, Ketchikan Indian Community Field Crew members, use a winch to pull logs into place. 

Photos and videos from implementation here!  

A bowling alley stream is not conducive to fish habitat; fish like complex channels with large woody debris that provides:

  1. Shade to keep the water cool
  2. Bank stabilization to minimize erosion
  3. Cover for fish to hide or rest
  4. Pool creation

Legacy Logging

Today, we understand that protecting salmon streams means protecting streamside forests.


Large, old-growth trees growing on stream banks or that fall into the stream provide numerous critically important ecological functions that support salmon populations.


Streamside logging allows stream channels to become straight and wide - like a bowling alley

The higher the habitat complexity, the greater the abundance and productivity of aquatic species and life stages supported by the habitat.

A restored stream reach that now has more complex habitat.  The final step to completing a structure is adding cover. Branches and smaller pieces of wood don't go to waste - they provide much needed shade, camouflage, and nutrients for the stream below. 

Check out more Before and After photos here! 

This work was supported by the US Forest Service (RAC & Southeast Alaska Sustainable Strategy Initiative), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership, and Bass Pro Shops. 

A special thanks to Jon Hyde and others at the US Forest Service for leading the heavy equipment restoration.  

And, additional thanks to Tony Gallagos, Josephine Guthrie, Allen Cline, Amy Hayward at the Ketchikan Indian Community & Jon Hyde, Robert Miller, and many others at the US Forest Service for their help with the hand tool restoration.  

Without the hard work of our partners, this restoration work would not be happening!   

Work started last year with heavy machinery doing the heavy lifting. This was funded, in part, by Bass Pro Shops. Check out this video SAWC shared at Bass Pro Shops 50th anniversary celebration this year. 

Thank you for your support! To keep up with our other projects, sign up for our newsletter


Rob Cadmus

Executive Director

Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition

Visit our website for more community watershed work in action!