Planning an Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Project on the Lower Diamond Fork River in Utah County, Utah

Paul Abate1*, Melissa Stamp2, Michael Mills

 1Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission (URMCC), Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A

2URMCC, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.

3URMCC, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.


The Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission is in the planning phase for the restoration of a 1.4-mile reach of the lower Diamond Fork River and its floodplain and would like input from river restoration experts regarding appropriate styles and locations for installation of habitat structures, physical channel and floodplain manipulation, and revegetation efforts. From the early 1920s to the late 1990s transbasin diversion delivered additional flows to the system ranging from 300 to 500 cubic feet per second. These flows greatly exceeded the natural size and capacity of the river and caused extensive and damaging channel adjustments and ecological changes. The recent return to a more natural flow regime was accompanied by corresponding geomorphic adjustments on lower Diamond Fork, including a return to a single-thread channel form and re-establishment of some floodplain vegetation. Despite these trends toward ecosystem recovery, aquatic habitat quality including deep pool habitat, remains lacking on portions of lower Diamond Fork. Restoration work will need to consider State sensitive Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), federally threatened Ute ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis), effects of the 2018 Pole Creek fire, and coordination with agency stakeholders including the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.  A river restoration firm will begin system evaluation and design in 2024, and with this poster presentation we would like to prompt dialogue and input from conference participants who may have innovative or unique restoration techniques that could be incorporated into the project.