Archives : 2014 : September

Removing the last concrete dam in Whychus Creek

September 18th, 2014

Thirteen miles of upstream spawning and rearing habitat are now open to reintroduced Chinook salmon and steelhead as well as redband trout now that the last concrete dam on Whychus Creek has been removed.

The removal of the Pine Meadow Ranch dam is the latest project in a long term effort to restore the conditions necessary for a thriving salmon and steelhead fishery in the Upper Deschutes Basin.

“It’s rewarding to see all the benefits of this project become reality,” said Mathias Perle, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council’s Project Manager. “This dam coming out opens the door for broader restoration to take shape up and downstream of the dam.”

The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC), the Deschutes National Forest, the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC) and Pine Meadow Ranch worked cooperatively to improve overall stream function by removing this fish passage barrier, increasing streamflows, and restoring habitat, while also installing a more efficient irrigation delivery system for the Ranch.

“This was a great opportunity for multiple partners to come together and focus on what they do best, whether it be dam removal, floodplain restoration or purchasing water rights,” said Zach Tillman, DRC’s Program Manager for Whychus Creek. “Many pieces had to come together for this project to happen and the UDWC deserves special credit for the long term relationship they forged with Pine Meadow Ranch as the water right holders and the Deschutes National Forest as the landowners.”

Moving upstream, the DRC and the UDWC are looking forward to continuing our partnership in addressing increased flows and fish passage at the last remaining earthen dam on Whychus Creek.

Click to see an interview with UDWC’s Mathias Perle and see demolition footage of the last concrete dam on Whychus Creek!