Water Street to close for creek work

Water Street between B Street and Central Avenue will be closed for most of August for bank restoration work along Ashland Creek below a bridge there, the contractor said.

Ashland-based contractor Northwest Biological Consulting began preliminary work Wednesday and has until Sept. 15 to complete the project, which includes the removal of an irrigation dam beneath the Water Street bridge and bank restoration to benefit stream flow and fish habitat in the area, said Scott English, Northwest's principal restoration biologist.

The project will cost the city $247,452, Project Manager Morgan Wayman said.

Street closures could begin as early as Friday after Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife inspects the plan for diverting the stream during removal of the dam. Pedestrian walkways will be closed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during workdays and reopened on weekends. There will be access to all residences and businesses within the closure zone, city officials said.

Northwest will begin staging heavy equipment, removing trees and preparing the site before operations go full-swing next week, English said.

Crews will place logs in the stream and remove evasive plants along 500 feet of the creek's banks and replant with alder, willow, cottonwood, Oregon white ash, snowberry and other native species, English said. The creek channel also will be deepened, he said.

The restoration work and dam removal also should help to protect the bridge and nearby buildings in the case of a flood, he said.

Workers plan to build a temporary dam and use 3,000-gallon-per-minute pumps to divert the stream around the existing dam, English said. The affected fish will be relocated using buckets and nets, he said.

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