This article was published on: 07/25/23 4:08 PM
By Sarah Ross, PGE Intern
Greetings! The 29th annual PGE Fisheries Workshop recently took place, bringing together a wide range of experts to share their knowledge on fish reintroduction programs and restoration projects in the Deschutes Basin. Representatives from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service were among the knowledgeable voices sharing their insights.
Key insights from the event include:
Stress relief ponds were discussed as a unique, controlled environment where fish can recover from stress before being released into the river. This allows the fish a gradual transition period to adapt to the natural river habitats, aiding in their successful reintegration into the river ecosystem and supporting long-term fish population sustainability.
The importance of limiting cattle grazing around riparian habitats was emphasized. By doing so, it helps to maintain vegetation structure, reduce invasive species, enhance soil health, and promote streambank stabilization. This in turn leads to higher water quality, less erosion, and improved habitat conditions for various organisms.
Participants also learned about a fascinating tracking method used in watersheds like the Upper Deschutes River, Metolius River, and Crooked River. Fish in these areas have their maxillary bone, or upper jaw, clipped on either the right or left side. This clip indicates the fish’s origin, helping biologists assess the success of the reintroduction efforts.
The value of slower river water flow was underscored, as it allows for better sediment deposition. This leads to nutrient-rich soil and a more diverse river environment.
Finally, the approach known as “process-based restoration” was brought into the spotlight. This method emphasizes the re-establishment of natural features and functions within ecosystems. For example, a beaver dam analog mimics a real beaver dam and wood accumulation, demonstrating the interconnectedness of different components within an ecosystem and the need to restore natural processes.
These insights underline the valuable lessons learned at this year’s PGE Fisheries Workshop, highlighting the strides being made in local ecosystem restoration and fish population sustainability.