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  • PAP-761

    Muddy Creek Demonstration Stream Restoration Research Project

    Progress Report

    Winter 1996-1997

    by Dr. Rodney J. Wittler

  • Progress Report

    CRDA-96-1 Muddy Creek Demonstration Stream Restoration Research Project

    Winter 1996-1997


    This report summarizes progress on the part of the Reclamation Water Resources Research Laboratory (WRRL) during the period January 1, 1997 - March 31, 1997. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Rodney 1. Wittler. This report includes details on the consolidation of all field data, progress on the three-dimensional CAD drawing/database for the project, and a list of publications or reports issued by Reclamation.

    Background This progress report concerns the efforts ofa partnership of Federal and local government agencies and a local citizen task force to solve the water quality problems associated with the incision of Muddy Creek near Great Falls, Montana. The United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and Greenfield Irrigation District (GID) are collaborating to reduce return flow to Muddy Creek. Reclamation, Cascade County Conservation District (CCCD), and the Muddy Creek Task Force (MCTF), are collaborating to stabilize the gradient and plan form of the stream. Funding for the original agreement came from a grant by the State of Montana to the Cascade County Conservation District. Mr. Alan Rollo is the Muddy Creek Task Force Coordinator. Funding for the amendment comes partially from a State of Montana grant ($10,000) and a grant by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation ($41,000) to the Cascade County Conservation District. Funding is part of the Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRDA) 96-1 and its amendments between Reclamation and the CCCD.

    There are eleven grade control structures named I-A through I-F, 2-A through 2-C, 2-E & 2-F. Figure 1 shows selected structure sites along Muddy Creek. The selection includes a sill constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The sill, constructed in February, 1994, was designed for zero drop. Incision in Muddy Creek below the sill has led to a substantial drop across the sill at the present time. The total drop measured across the grade control structures, including the Corps sill, at a flow between 45 ft?ls and 63 fe/s is 15.16 feet as of October, 1996. The total design drop for the 11 structures was 17 feet. Not including the Corps sill, the total drop is 15.16-1.19 or 13.97 feet. Therefore, we have achieved 13.97/17 or 82% of the design head, at the flow rate of roughly 45 ft3 Is. Including the Corps sill increases the measured drop to 87% of the design drop.

    There are 160 barbs installed on Muddy Creek between Gordon and Vaughn, roughly 8 river miles. Figure 1 shows selected structure sites along Muddy Creek. Task force plans include installation of an equal number of barbs in this reach during the Fall of 1997. There are 33 barbs installed above Gordon, primarily in conjunction with the cutoff revetments in this reach. The Task Force plans include installation of 100-200 barbs in this reach. There are seven revetments and four cutoff revetments installed on Muddy Creek. Figure 1 shows these sites.

    The Reclamation WRRL designed a low-cost culvert crossing for Muddy Creek in October 1996 and supervised construction in December 1996. The crossing design demonstrates dual functionality as a grade control structure and crossing. The crossing is in the vicinity of buildings owned by the Wohlgemuth family. Figure 1 shows the site.

    MCTF Progress Report 2 Winter 1996-1997

  • Water Resources Research Laboratory

    Cutoff -Revetment

    Cutoff-+-L1 Revet men t-'----T-I!"-------.

    Gordon USGS Gage

    Cutoff Revetment Wohlgemuths Upper Pumpslte

    Revetment GCS 2-F

    GCS 2-C '7'--/00-.----"----,


    Revetment GCS 2-B I--+--~ GCS 2-A

    '-==0::-----1." 6 ~GCS I-D /J------""'::"- Revet men t

    GCS 2-E Revetment


    Low Water Crossing Revetment

    GCS I-F Cut of f Revetment

    GCS I-E Revetment

    USACE 5111 & Revetment

    Burlington Northern Railroad Brldqe

    USGS Gage

    2000 0 2000 4000 6000 Vaughn Highway Bridge

    Sun River Confluence SCALE cr FEET

    Figure 1. Selected sites along Muddy Creek.



    In October of 1993 and again in July of 1994 technicians of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) surveyed the water surface of roughly a 4-mile reach of Muddy Creek. The Task Force informally designates this reach as the Phase I reach of the demonstration project. The Phase II reach is above the Phase I reach and extends roughly 4 stream miles upstream. As part of the CAD modeling of Muddy Creek the Task Force is assigning arbitrary reach names to reaches of the creek for identifying purposes. The water surface profiles in 1993 and 1994 show the pre-project stream gradient and the post-Phase I construction stream gradient. Figure 2 shows the two profiles.

    M CTF Progress Report 3 Winter 1996-1997

  • Water Resources Research Laboratory




    E 3,370 c o

    i iii 3,365

    19 1A

    \ 3,360



    Jf , .... -. . .".,.,,. ...... , Sill

    t 3,350 5,000


    1C l ~

    /., . , .. ,.-,.-, ---

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    J 29

    2A \ LJ/.J'/ I \ , .. " /:.,


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    ,~,,- ... ., ."-~

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    15,000 Station (ft)

    --1994 Water Surface 222 cfs Post Phase I

    . .... '1993 Water Surface 78 cIs Preconstruction



    kfi' .-'..1 . ~.' .......


    Figure 2. Water surface profiles from October 1993 (Pre-project) and July 1994 (Post-Phase I Construction).

    Conclusions From 1993 Water Surface Survey - Structure Design and Location The purpose of the 1993 water surface profile survey was to gather design information and to get the first real view of the hydraulic conditions of the creek. Two publications describe how the survey was utilized. The first, "Gradient and Plan Form Stabilization of an Incising Stream" [1] gives an overall view of the design process for the barbs, grade control structures, and the siting process of the structures based upon the water surface profile. The second "Siting Low Profile Grade Control Structures for the Muddy Creek Demonstration Stream Restoration Research Project" [2] details the specific procedure for taking water surface profile data and siting proposed grade control structures.

    The 1993 water surface profile shows three distinct sub-reaches in the Phase I reach defined by the relative magnitude of the water surface gradient, or slope. In the lower sub-reach the gradient is relatively shallow. In the upper third of the Phase I reach the gradient is significantly steeper, indicating the presence of numerous head cuts and active incision. Just above this steepest sub-reach the stream returns to a relatively shallow gradient, along the Burlington Northern railroad opposite the Wohlgemuth buildings. The Task Force concluded that in Phase I grade control was warranted in these sub-reaches for the purpose of halting incision and stabilizing the bed of the creek. During Phase II the Task Force concentrated on plan-form stability using barbs and vegetation techniques, in the Phase I and Phase II reaches.

    MCTF Progress Report 4 Winter 1996-1997

  • Water Resources Research Laboratory PAP-761

    Structure Heights and Range of Influence The Task Force installed grade control structures of two heights, one-foot, and two-foot, in the Phase I reach. The heights are design hydraulic head, that is the grade control structures were designed for either one or two feet of hydraulic head across the structure. The one-foot structures, I-A through l-E were constructed in the early spring of 1994. The two-foot structures, 2-A through 2-C were constructed in the late spring of 1994. An additional one-foot structure, I-F, was constructed in December, 1994, following the first season of operation of the structures. Wittler described the structure designs in the paper "Features of a Chevron Weir Rock Ramp." [3]

    The spacing between the structures was based upon an estimate of the stable channel slope. In a true "stair-step" system the tail water from a downstream structure would submerge the toe of an upstream structure. Figure 2 shows that the two-foot structures achieve this type of hydraulic behavior, while the one-foot structures do not. The range of hydraulic influence between the one-foot structures was over estimated during the design process. However, economically speaking, the one-foot structures are very successful. They stabilize the shallow gradient portions of the Phase I reach, and they cost less to construct than the two-foot structures. The two-foot structures are also very successful. In the steepest portion of the Phase I reach, the portion suffering the greatest incision and erosion, the two-foot structures have completely stabilized the gradient without perching the stream. The hydraulic influence of the two-foot structures was estimated correctly during the design process.

    Flow Rate Difference The mean flow during the 1993 survey was 78 ft3/s while during the 1994 survey the flow was 222 ft3/s. This difference causes the general offset between the two surveyed profiles. No attempt to directly compare the two surveys is possible because of the highly non-linear hydraulic effects of increasing stage along with increasing discharge. However, the relative differences between the two water surfaces are visually apparent from the figure.



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