Restoration Director, Ryan Santo, explains how we can make a big impact on Warm Springs Creek

Warm Springs Creek: Restoring a Community Treasure

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Wood River Land Trust (WRLT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Ketchum (City) to partner in enhancing the floodplain and in channel habitat and improve irrigation efficiency of the recently acquired Warm Springs Preserve. This will improve overall habitat on site, and benefit the Big Wood River system as well.

Timeline

The following schedule has been established by the City: 

  • April/May 2022 : retain design team for Master Plan-COMPLETED!
  • Summer 2022: Conduct public engagement opportunities 
  • Summer 2022: Engage City Council and Planning and Zoning meetings
  • Master plan finalized January 2023

Currently, the flood/stream restoration is dependent on fundraising. As funds become available we would anticipate beginning the restoration work in the late fall/early winter of 2023.

Project goals and benefits

The City received a quote that includes upgrading and replacing portions of the irrigation system which includes; excavation of the irrigation pond, new piping, and upgrading the pump station. The quote also includes planting native plants after the floodplain restoration.

Reducing water use by constructing irrigation efficiencies and incorporating drought-tolerant and native plants will reduce water needs. This is an opportunity to use excess water from irrigation efficiencies to increase instream flows in the Big Wood River. Opportunities like this should be a priority for enhancing the Big Wood River due to the increase in water use valley-wide and extreme drought conditions.

Stream/ Floodplain Restoration

The scope of the restoration portion of the Master Plan is large and has the potential to enhance approximately 1 mile of Warm Springs Creek and approximately 20 acres of floodplain habitat. The floodplain enhancement could entail removing 3 to 5 feet of artificial fill that was used to create the previous golf course. Stream restoration will look into treatments that will increase cover and complex habitats by using large woody debris structures and treatments to allow for adequate sediment transport capacity. This is the last opportunity in the lower Warm Springs Creek for large-scale restoration.