La Center Wetlands, East Fork Lewis River, Washington

Inter-Fluve supported the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership in identifying restoration opportunities, designing and constructing this large-scale floodplain reconnection project. Project design elements included breaching existing levees to reconnect surface water from the East Fork Lewis River to adjacent floodplains to enhance off-channel habitat for ESA-listed salmonids and native aquatic species. The project improved off-channel rearing and winter refugia for juvenile salmonids, removed two fish passage barriers, installed habitat large woody material, created riparian buffers, and naturalized a drainage canal.  A roughened channel improved fish access to an existing wetland while still maintaining water levels within the wetlands. A 2D model was used to evaluate the impacts of project design elements, including on adjacent private and public landowners.

The La Center restoration project reconnected 453 acres of floodplain to Washington’s East Fork Lewis River. Photo show the project site four years after construction. 

Estuary Partnership staff at one of three future levee breaches.

Because the levee is used as a recreational trail, bridges were installed over the three levee breach channels.

Aerial view of bridge.

A quarter-mile long agricultural drainage ditch was naturalized and improved for salmonid habitat.

The irrigation canal, four years after construction. 

The La Center site is saturated with wildlife—especially birds.