Friday, April 26, 2013

New Fish Passage on North Santiam Creates Wild Fish Refugia

On April 1st, a fish passage facility went online at Minto Diversion dam on the North Santiam River. The project is once small step towards stabilizing and recovering wild winter steelhead and spring Chinook in the Willamette system, and will provide access to about 4 miles of habitat upstream of Minto Dam. Further upstream, and biologists hope to eventually be able to trap and haul fish above the larger Detroit dam. Already, 50 wild stelhead have been passed into the habitat upstream of Minto dam. For now though, only hatchery spring chinook will be released above Detroit dam, as the US Army Corp studies how best to provide downstream passage for juvenile fish.

A similar project was built at Cougar Dam in the McKenzie basin in 2010, with spring chinook and steelhead successfully colonizing habitat upstream immediately.

The project is a part of a broad initiative to provide passage above dams in the Willamette Valley, as mandated by the 2008 Willamette Project biological opinion. In total the project will open

ODFW's Upper Willamette Recovery Plan:

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