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Beeson-Robison Fish Passage Improvement

Finished project  
Fish Salvage below dam 
Giant Pacific Salamander salvaged below dam  
Demolition of the dam 

Project Number

217-2036-14223

Grantee

Rogue River Watershed Council

Partners & Funders

Beeson-Robison Ditch Association, Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District, Middle Rogue Steelheaders, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pacific Power Blue Sky Habitat Fund/The Freshwater Trust, Patagonia, Resources Legacy Fund, Rogue Basin Partnership, Rogue Flyfishers, Schwemm Family Foundation, Southern Oregon Fly Fishers, Trout and Salmon Foundation, WaterWatch of Oregon

Project Overview

The Rogue River in southwestern Oregon flows from near Crater Lake to the Pacific Ocean. Renowned for its salmon runs, white water rafting, and rugged scenery, the Rogue is one of the original 8 rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Decades of dam building and habitat alterations have resulted in declining wild salmon populations. Access to small tributary streams such as Wagner Creek is vital to wild steelhead and salmon recovery in the Rogue basin because these tributaries provide spawning and rearing habitat and cool water important for juvenile survival. The Rogue River Watershed Council (RRWC) dam removal project on Wagner Creek expands access to such upstream habitat while meeting private land management needs. The project represents a strong collaboration among private landowners and water users, agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Wagner Creek is one of the most valuable fishery streams in the Bear Creek watershed. Summer and winter steelhead are known to use Wagner Creek and there is strong potential for coho salmon to use the creek as well. The Beeson-Robison Dam, a 5.5-foot tall structure, was a complete barrier for juvenile fish and upstream migrating fish under most flow conditions. Thus it was a high priority fish passage barrier in the Rogue River Basin. The RRWC raised funds, worked with landowners and water users, completed permit applications, and hired a contractor to implement the Beeson-Robison Fish Passage Improvement Project.

On September 28, 2017, the Beeson-Robison Diversion Dam was removed from Wagner Creek to improve access to 3 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead and potentially coho salmon. Within 4 days, a new 115-foot long roughened channel had been installed to mimic a natural streambed and provide fish passage. 80 feet upstream of the dam site at the top of the new channel, rocks were strategically placed to direct water into a new intake system that would supply 18 water rights holders. Weed-free straw and grass seed were spread over disturbed areas to reduce erosion. The site will be planted in early spring 2018 with native trees and shrubs to replace several trees that were removed for construction.

Photos

Top: Completed project with intake system shown. Courtesy of RRWC.
2nd: Fish salvage led by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Courtesy of Jason Jaacks.
3rd: One of a dozen giant Pacific salamanders salvaged below dam. Courtesy of Jason Jaacks.
Bottom: Dam demolition. Courtesy of Jason Jaacks.

For complete reports on this and other OWEB projects, please search OWEB's Grant Management System (OGMS).

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