Highlights from the Salmon Diaries 2013

201311 John BrandsbergOver 50 volunteers monitored six one-mile stretches of Johnson Creek in the winter of 2013 searching for coho salmon.

JCWC’s Restoration Coordinator Robin Jenkinson had this to say about their findings:

“Because we’ve now documented wild, spawning adult coho in upper Johnson Creek for four years running (!!!), we can state with confidnece that there is an established, self-sustaining wild run of this threatened species here. The next steps are to determine whether the adult spawners are limited by available spawning gravel areas and to open fish passage by replacing problem culverts to cooler tributary streams where the young can rear during warmer summer months.”

The volunteers were asked to report on their experiences. Here are some journal excerpts:

” The day was clear, sunny and cold with a strong wind. The last heavy rain was about 5 days ago. The water in KelleyCreek was actually generally fairly clear, although in the deeper pools it could be murky. Clatsop Creek was very clear. Much of the substrate was medium-size (at least 3” diameter) rocks; there were not many areas with pebbles or silt. We did not feel like it was particularly good habitat for coho or steelhead spawning, at least as it appeared this day, because there were not many golf-ball sized stones. It was fairly easy to walk for most of this stretch; the creeks were not particularly deep. It was difficult to see while under the Foster Rd. bridge; might be a good idea to bring a flashlight next time to see in here. “

Susan Hawes on Kelley Creek

20131102 JAson Misner

“We covered a good part of the creek between the Towle Bride and the 7th Avenue bridges…There were some deep parts but were able to keep to the side or walk on the land.  We had to fight through some blackberry bushes, which was the most difficult part.  Walking in the creek was fun, but we kicked up dirt and couldn’t see much.  So we would find a place that looked like a coho might like and stayed still for a while to observe…We saw some minnows and beaver cut trees but no signs of coho.”

– Cathy Geiger on Towle Rd. to Main City Park 

“We met the long-time owners of the home at Towle Road who were very friendly and helpful. We entered the creek just upstream of their clearing where the water level wasn’t as deep.  We saw quite a few signs of beaver, and a homeowner said he saw one swimming in the area earlier in the day. We also saw the white/silver belly flash of two fish in a pool.  We would guess their size to be about 8 to 10 inches in length—probably suckers, but impossible to say for sure. We waited several minutes to see if they would show themselves again, but no luck.”

– Barbara Amen on Towle Rd. to Main City Park

fish 3 mike pinker and michael cook liberty to palmblad

“We saw a very high number of old mussel shells in Crystal Springs Creek below the Sherrett Street bridge. We chatted with some employees on break at the Clackamas jail too.  They reported seeing steelhead in mid-September but no fish since then.”

– Bruce Newton on the Willamette River to Johnson Creek Park 

“Further up the reach, a large proportion of the east bank is armored with dressed rock, looks like basalt maybe. Siltation of the substrate improves. There are a number of large ponds to the east, draining directly into the creek…Saw a goose, all white. A lot of invasive plant species are present. Lots of herb robert, some ranunculus, what I believe was English hawthorne in full fruit. Trees are primarily occasional cedars, some dogwood, unidentified small deciduous. Further up there are large stands of English ivy, much of it climbing trees.  There are also large stands of at least two varieties of bamboo on both banks, a small-diameter and a very large-diameter type.  The substrate improves going upstream, with more unsilted cobbles and wider, more accessible banks. We also encountered a holly on the west bank. Continuing upstream, we encountered a series of four or five constructed concrete walls with armored banks on both sides, which seemed to be intended as a salmon ladder.”

– Howard Patterson on Kelley Creek

20131102 NAthan JAhns

 “Although it hadn’t rained most of the week and the flow wasn’t very high, the water was really silty in places (the color was that opaque blue/green that is common of glacial streams), making it difficult to see in many of the deeper places. There were quite a few beaver dams and log jams where we didn’t walk in the stream, and a few places where the creek floor was really soft and full of organic detritus of sorts, so we walked along the edge to try and limit our disturbance on the creek. There are a quite a few pools along this transect that looked ideal for the salmon, but we were bummed to see none there! All in all it was a great trip. “

– Dave Vailencourt – Palmblad Rd. to Badger Creek




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