September smoke pushes Whychus Creek project into 2021

Oct 30, 2020

Bend Bulletin

September smoke pushes Whychus Creek project into 2021 By MICHAEL KOHN

An ongoing project to improve fish habitat in Whychus Creek will now be spread out over two years, due to delays caused by the September wildfires.

The removal of Plainview Dam, a significant barrier to fish passage on Whychus Creek, is now expected to be complete in 2021, according to Mathias Perle, restoration program manager for the Upper Deschutes Water Council.

The project to remove the dam and make other habitat improvements shut down for around three weeks in September due to significant smoke impacts in the area.

“Working instream on Whychus in October becomes risky with a strong likelihood of high flows from rain/snow events in the mountains,” said Perle.

“These high flows have the potential to wash out our project.”

The installation of a new irrigation diversion and a fish screen are both underway this week, said Perle. The Three Sisters Irrigation District, a partner in the project, will work on piping the canal from the diversion this fall and winter, in order to have that portion of the project complete by the start of the irrigation season in April 2021, he added.

“We will then work with the irrigation district to perform the instream work in 2021 to remove the dam and restore the channel to provide fish passage,” said Perle.

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