Whychus Creek Dam removal to require blasting

Sep 05, 2014

KTVZ

Whychus Creek Dam removal to require blasting

Brief area closure; Opens 13 miles of fish habitat; ceremony Monday

SISTERS, Ore. - A temporary area closure will begin on Sunday afternoon and is expected to end on Monday evening on the Sisters Ranger District to provide for public safety as officials use explosives to remove the last remaining concrete dam on Whychus Creek.

The area will be closed to the public beginning Sunday at 5 pm. The area closure is primarily within T. 15 S, R.10 E, Section 17. It includes all the area bordered by Forest Road 1605, west to Forest Road 1505, south to Forest Road 300, east to Whychus Creek back and then north to the starting point at Forest Road 1605.

Originally, officials expected not to use explosives to remove the dam; however, upon additional review it was determined explosives would be needed.

Once the dam is removed, 13 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, steelhead and resident trout, will be restored in Whychus Creek. The dam removal is one part of a long?term and multifaceted effort to restore the historic native fisheries in the creek.

Other components of the effort include restoring 2.5 miles of stream channel near the dam, putting one cubic foot per second (CFS) of permanent streamflow into the creek, and upgrading Pine Meadow Ranch’s irrigation system to reduce water usage.

The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, Deschutes National Forest, Deschutes River Conservancy and Pine Meadow Ranch are all participating in the fisheries restoration efforts.

Representatives from local non-profits, public agencies and Pine Meadow Ranch will celebrate the dam removal at a small ceremony next Monday.

Once the dam is removed, 13 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, steelhead and resident trout will be restored in Whychus Creek.

The project’s total cost is estimated to be $2 million, with funding coming from the Deschutes National Forest, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pelton Round?Butte Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Fund’s Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program, Reser Family Foundation, the National Forest Foundation, and Patagonia.

For more information contact Mike Riehle at the Sisters Ranger District, 541-549-7702, or Mathias Perle, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, 541-382-6103 ext 37.

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