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banks of

Elk Creek


Miriam Mylin

the previous year, and assisted

employees of Chief Oil and

Gas, which provided labor,

equipment and funding for

the project, with constructing

more habitats.

The structures included

multi-log vanes, which

consisted of three logs pinned

to the streambed with metal

rods or large rocks; and

mudsills, which are logs that

hold the bottom portion of

the bank in place and provide

an overhanging structure

for trout to swim under for

shade and protection. These

structures also provide pockets

of refuge from predators and

overly warm water, while

minimizing stream bank

erosion. As an additional

measure against erosion,

bank slopes were reduced and

resurfaced with fresh soil,

and the areas were seeded and


Ongoing monitoring of

fish in those streams has

shown significant increases

in trout populations since the

installation of the fish habitats.

“This experience taught

me that people have different

views about what stream

restoration means and how to

accomplish it,” said Novella. “I

have also learned how to take

on a project by myself and lead

others to make it successful.

Those two things are huge in

my development as a student

and as a future professional.”

Under the leadership of

Mel Zimmerman, Ph.D.,

biology professor emeritus

and director of the CWI,

the institute has completed

hundreds of projects that have

analyzed, documented and

restored the health of local

waterways. Since the program

started in 1989, he has

garnered more than $500,000

in grants and other donations,

with the help of the College

advancement office, to fund

these projects. Zimmerman

has partnered with every

major environmental agency

in the area and has mentored

more than 300 students

through paid internships and

course practicums.

“Projects like these help

students learn leadership

skills, reinforce techniques

and concepts learned in the

classroom and introduce

students to a large network of

working professionals,” said


More about the Clean Wa-

ter Institute can be found at: