Opal Springs Passage is Working!

The new Opal Springs fish ladder became operational on Nov. 15 and an automated fish detection system was installed 4 days later.  In the first 13 days (11/19 to 12/1) 23 trout, 28 whitefish, and 3 steelhead have been counted.  That’s an excellent start.

Opal Springs Fish Ladder Operational!

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The fish ladder is under the walkway, the spillway for downstream migration is to the right.

For over 20 years a wide range of companies, organizations, agencies, and individuals have been working on the reintroduction of steelhead and salmon into the upper Deschutes Basin above Lake Billy Chinook.  This includes the middle Deschutes, the Crooked River, the Metolius Rivers, and their tributaries.

To the surprise of fish biologists who had anticipated that Whychus Creek and the Metolius Rivers would be the primary destinations, the great majority of the returning steelhead and Chinook salmon have attempted to head up the Crooked River to spawn.  The overwhelming preference for the Crooked has been the case every year there have been anadromous fish returns.  Unfortunately, until last week a dam at the bottom of the Crooked River had largely blocked upstream passage for these returning anadromous fish. Read More »

Opal Springs Fish Passage Video

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.Read More »

Fisheries Workshop Highlights

The 25th annual Pelton Round Butte Fisheries Workshop was the past two days.  I have been going for years and, as usual, it was an overwhelming amount of information.  I plan to follow up with some of the presenters to get a better understanding of their data and hope to have more detailed posts soon.  In the meantime, here’s a quick list of the highlights from my perspective.Read More »

PGE Water Quality Study

Portland General Electric’s long awaited lower Deschutes River water quality study was recently released.  At over 600 pages it took me some time to get through, here are my initial impressions.  This study is critically important to the ongoing effort to reintroduce anadromous fish into the upper Deschutes Basin and the operation of the Selective Water Withdrawal tower.  Also note that the Deschutes River Alliance’s lawsuit against PGE/CTWS (dismissed but under appeal) is based on allegations of water quality violations.  The author of the water quality study will present and answer questions at the upcoming Fisheries Workshop. Read More »