Lewis & Clark River Passage Project
Goals of this project are to:
- restore upstream and downstream passage for adult and juvenile native winter steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout to and from intact spawning habitat, blocked by two perched and undersized culverts on private timber land. One culvert was on the mainstem Lewis & Clark River and the other was on an adjacent spawning tributary.
The Lewis & Clark River still hosts a remnant population of wild winter steelhead renowned locally for their large size. This project site lies above a dam, however, the dam does have a fish ladder and wild steelhead are able to pass to the upper river's spawning habitat in higher flows. Also, these upper portions of the Lewis & Clark are home to populations of native coastal cutthroat, relatively undisturbed by hatchery influences. Restoring passage - both upstream and downstream for adults and juveniles at all flow levels - will allow greater use of intact spawning habitats currently blocked, and greater production and survival for native steelhead and cutthroat. That means more wild fish. More wild fish generally means better fishing!
Undersized and perched culverts - and fill material - were removed. Stream banks were re-contoured to replicate original slope and width. Pre-fabricated concrete bridges were installed to replace culverts, allowing free flow of streams at all flow levels. Costs for the project were shared equally by TU and the landowner - a private timber company, which voluntarily took on the project.
Project re-connected some 4 miles of quality spawning and rearing habitat for native winter steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout of all life stages at all flow levels. Sedimentation and harmful erosion that was resulting from the undersized culverts handling heavy flows was greatly reduced by restoring stream width to more-than bankful width.
Alan Moore - TU Northwest Director of Habitat Programs