Water Resources and Riparian Reclamation of Nome Creek, White Mountains National Recreation Area, Alaska


In June 1989, the BLM began water resources monitoring and inventory on Nome Creek in preparation for a riparian reclamation and stream channel reconstruction project. The intent was to collect data useful in reconstruction of the stream within a single channel, to eliminate the unstable debris piles and settling ponds that contributed to excessive sediment runoff, and to stabilize and revegetate the floodplain. The reclamation techniques developed here could then be useful for other placer mining reclamation. The stream, after being reclaimed into a single pilot channel in 1991, was subject to repeated floods during the subsequent years from both storm runoff from summer rains and overflow icing (aufeis) during spring breakup, often eroding into the floodplain and destroying willow plantings adjacent to the stream. These problems, typical of similar projects in Alaska, were minimized by widening the pilot channel, flattening meanders on the inside of bends, and regrading the floodplain. A preliminary instream flow analysis was begun on the site above Ophir Creek so the results could be used in the BLM’s application to the State of Alaska for a water right for the lower reach of the creek.

Recommendations include: 1) continue the reclamation work until the entire creek is consolidated into a single channel and all the unstable debris piles are recontoured into a well-graded and completely revegetated floodplain; and 2) continue to collect, analyze, and publish stream-gaging, water quality, and botanical data, not only for the reclamation work on the upper creek, but also for the instream flow project on the lower portion of the stream. This includes a satellite-capable gage installed above Ophir Creek to provide the public with real-time water-level information. Additionally, a thorough GIS mapping and analysis of the watershed would improve the accuracy of the area estimates of reclamation and revegetation, the miles of steam channel reconstructed, and the basin characteristics used in many water resources analyses.

Publication Date




Collection: BLM Library
Category: Report


Wetlands and Riparian