The three-year restoration project at Bonanza stream has resumed for 2020, according to Salmon-Challis Forest officials.
A portion of the Yankee Fork that was affected by dredge mining in the 1940s and 1950s is being returned to a more natural condition through the project. Forest officials say it’s one of the largest stream restoration efforts in Central Idaho.
The Yankee Fork never reverted to its natural condition after gold mining ended in 1952. The dredge process reduced the river’s ability to support fish, which is still the situation.
The restoration project involves re-establishing the natural stream channels, planting native vegetation and creating functional floodplains in part of the dredged area. It’s expected to improve the health, diversity and productivity of the Yankee Fork, including restoring fish and wildlife habitat and improving watershed health.
The project also includes funding for improvements to the Yankee Fork Road and the parking lot at the dredge.
In the last two summers, excess tailings were removed and stream channels and floodplains on the west side of the project were re-established.
Work to restore parts of the Yankee Fork watershed began in 2012. To date, seven projects have been completed.
About 7 acres of tailings near the Yankee Fork Dredge are being left in place to preserve the area’s mining history and maintain the historic setting of the dredge.