The fish ladder at the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project at the mouth of the Crooked River is nearing completion. Scheduled to go online this fall, volitional passage could be a huge shot in the arm for reintroduction efforts as the overwhelming majority of adult steelhead and chinook passed into Lake Billy Chinook try to go up the Crooked. The Crooked River Watershed Council has released this video about the passage project which is worth viewing.
Side note: for a number of years I was pretty active in increasing awareness of the need for fish passage at Opal Springs Dam. I wrote articles that were published in newspapers and magazines, created a now discontinued website that tracked reintroduction including the number of fish attempting to go up the Crooked, secured a number of endorsements from other environmental groups, and organized meetings between this coalition and the Oregon Water Enhancement Board, a primary funding source.
All this played at least a small role in securing financing for fish passage. It was a long process, with many committed players, the most important of which is Deschutes Valley Water District, the owners of the project. They are the single largest funding source and their consultant, Finlay Anderson, raised most of the rest of the money. Now that the fish ladder is nearing completion the typical marketing and jockeying for credit is occurring. I get it, groups need to promote themselves for a variety of reasons. I don’t personally need, solicit, or take donations, but it would be nice if the other groups that played important roles were mentioned in the video, most notably NW Steelheaders.