Written by Elizabeth Brosig
Eight years ago Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) surveyed and prioritized 275 fish passage barriers in the Johnson Creek Watershed. Since then, the Council has completed nine fish passage projects, including culvert replacements and retrofits, and a dam removal. One of those projects was the removal of a full barrier on Badger Creek at the Springwater Trail crossing in 2016, opening Badger Creek to fish passage up to a degraded culvert on private property just 0.7 miles upstream. In August we removed that degraded culvert and opened Badger Creek for another 0.7 miles!
Badger Creek is a cold water tributary of Johnson Creek in Boring, Oregon. Cold water tributaries are significantly important to salmon, especially with climate change impacts continuing to increase. Since resolving the barrier at the Springwater Trail crossing, the Council has conducted eDNA testing in Badger Creek at that location and found the presence of steelhead/rainbow trout, coho, and Pacific lamprey. Additionally, in the summer of 2016 during construction at the site, an adult 12” Pacific lamprey and several small lamprey were captured and later released during the fish salvage operation with ODFW.
On September 21, we removed a degraded culvert in Boring Oregon, opening up Badger Creek for another 0.7 miles to fish passage. This corrugated steel round culvert was 67% passable to adult fish and likely a complete barrier to juvenile fish due to a water surface drop at the outlet. The culvert was in very poor condition, the sides have completely rusted out throughout the culvert. The culvert broke into pieces as it was removed because it was in such bad condition. The streambanks were graded at an incline to create a natural channel shape and to allow the stream room to adjust.
Riparian work is underway to remove invasive species along the stream and this winter native shrubs and trees will be planted in their place. Native vegetation is vital to a healthy stream environment, benefiting insects, birds, and other wildlife, while additionally shading the creek to conserve cold water. JCWC is planning on installing a small bridge soon to allow landowner access across the creek, while also allowing the stream to be fully passable for salmonids and lamprey alike. We want to thank Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for their support in funding this project.