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Oregon Department of Forestry and private landowners complete fish-friendly water quality improvement projects
News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Major Media Distribution
March 25, 2013
 
Contact: Joe Hessel, 541-963-3168
Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425
Cynthia Orlando, 503-945-7421
 
 
Field foresters from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) office in LaGrande recently worked with landowners to complete 38 projects designed to remove barriers to fish passage caused by outmoded road systems.
 
These projects create fish-passable stream crossing structures and minimize road-related sediment entering waters of the state, and each had multiple parts.
 
For example, on one project several culverts and a bridge were installed, along with road reconstruction, relocation and decommissioning. Improved access for fire prevention and protection was another project benefit.
 
The U.S. Forest Service provided funding to ODF for the projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with the goal of improving stream health and fish habitat.

38 projects completed
ODF foresters in LaGrande reviewed 66 project proposals from private landowners. Of these, 38 projects were selected to receive funding for development, implementation and administration.
 
Specific forestry projects completed recently include:
  • Installation of 28 bridges and fish-friendly crossings
  • Placement of 49 new drainage culverts
  • Decommissioning of 4-5 miles of road
  • Reconstructing 42 miles of road
  • Creation of ponds for wildlife and livestock
  • More than 13,000 feet of bank enhancement
Bruce Young Logging of Heppner is one of a number of companies that worked with ODF on these much-needed land improvement projects. Young’s company worked in the Heppner area installing 10 culverts and improving the road near a fish-bearing stream to help maintain water quality. In other projects Young and his crew placed rock along a road to reduce sediment entering a stream and installed a culvert to facilitate fish passage in Pelican Creek outside LaGrande.
 
Young says these projects benefitted not only fish habitat but provided economic return, as well. "We had had a downturn in the timber market so it really helped our business during a lull in the economy,” he says.
 
"These projects created jobs for 89 private forestry workers, contractors and consultants who would otherwise not have had employment," says Rick Wagner, ODF field forester and biomass coordinator.
 
Although this grant has concluded, landowners with similar projects should contact ODF's Northeast Oregon District Office in LaGrande (541-963-3168), in case other funding sources become available.

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