Fish passage barriers block fish and other wildlife from passing up- and downstream, so that they cannot access food, habitat, and shelter from predators. The most common barriers in our watershed are culverts, large pipes that convey water under roads and driveways. Culverts can block fish passage in many ways, such as high drops, high water velocity, and steep slope.
In 2013-14, JCWC partnered with Portland State University to survey hundreds of culverts and dams in our watershed. Of the 273 surveyed culverts and dams, 70% were found to be full or partial barriers! We then used a statistical model to prioritize these barriers for future restoration projects, and produced a list of the 18 top-priority barriers. Since 2016, we have removed 5 of the highest priority passage barriers and retrofitted 2 others. Beginning with a culvert replacement in the lower reach of Badger Creek, we since replaced an undersized culvert near the mouth of the North Fork of Johnson Creek in 2017, followed by the removal of 2 passage barriers in Mitchell Creek in 2019, and removal of a 5.5′ tall dam in Kelley Creek in 2020. The two culvert retrofit projects took place in the North Fork of Johnson Creek in 2018 and 2019 were the first applications in the Northwest of an experimental passage technology developed in New Zealand; a technology that offers cost-effective, short-term passage through culverts where replacement or removal is a longer-term proposition. In the summer/fall of 2021, we will remove another passage barrier in Mitchell Creek, and retrofit two culverts in the North Fork of Johnson Creek.
North Fork Open Migration- A comprehensive approach to restoring fish passage throughout the North Fork of Johnson Creek.
Pleasant Valley Open Migration- restoring fish passage into the cold water tributaries of Kelley Creek and Mitchell Creek:
Restoring Fish Passage in Badger Creek
In September 2016, we removed our top-priority barrier by replacing the culvert where Badger Creek passes under the Springwater Trail. Check out the photos below!