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Decker Creek Habitat Survey

~ a  Decker Creek Rural Neighbor Project~

Working with neighbors and others in the area, the Habitat Survey team conducted stream habitat surveys in Decker Creek during the summer months of June, July, and August.  The Decker Creek neighborhood consists of 6-8 households along a dirt road, all bordering Decker Creek.  The survey team collected field data based on stream, reach and channel unit characteristics.  The survey was planned and overseen by a neighborhood resident, Shelley Spalding.  Shelley is a retired fisheries biologist.  The survey drew upon existing stream habitat protocols.  The survey results will be shared with the Washington Departmetn of Fish and Wildlife and the Quinault Tribal Nation.  Both entities conduct fish population surveys on Decker Creek and the project surveys are intended to complement their fish surveys.

Measuring Creek Width

Melanie Eackrett, volunteer and mother to Sadie Langford, research assistant and high school freshmen. They enjoyed interacting in the stream with Sadie taking the lead since she was the research assistant and Melanie the volunteer. We used a 100’ tape to measure width for each reach. Some reaches were quite deep and thus challenging to get across the creek.

North Survey Site

Each of the two survey sites were 100’ long and were subdivided in 25’ reaches. We surveyed each reach for wetted width, depth, velocity, and temperature. This site was the closest to the bridge where Decker Creek goes under the Matlock Brady Road This site was located where there was an important tributary called Drybed Creek. It was also a site where we leased access to the creek as there are very
few accessible sites from near the gravel road. 


We usually had 3 people in the water when conducting the surveys: two taking measurements and one recording.

Unexpected Outcomes

There are 8 households along the dirt road where I live. The neighborhood is part of the rural internet under-served meaning it has no reliable internet or cell phone service. When Leading from the Roots began adapting to the pandemic, the need for decent internet in the neighborhood became an essential.  Calls to our service provider revealed that yes, indeed, we were in an internet black hole. Now a part of the Decker Creek Neighborhood project, a community member persisted and to decided to inquire of new utility boxes installed near the neighborhood a couple years ago. What had been an abrupt, "you are in an internet black hole," changed to, "high speed internet is accessible."  The neighborhood is now online!

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