Restoring the White Salmon River Basin: Indian Creek Fish Passage Project
Salmon, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, and other White Salmon River Basin fish are finding access to quality habitat a bit less tricky one Halloween after Condit Dam was breached.
On Friday, October 19, 2012, the Service, Underwood Conservation District, Klickitat County, Yakama Nation, and other partners celebrated the completion of the Indian Creek Fish Passage Project near Husum, Washington, which will re-open nearly five miles of quality spawning habitat for coho salmon, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, and trout in Indian Creek, a tributary of the White Salmon River.
The project was funded by the Yakama Nation, Washington State's Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and the Service's National Fish Passage Program, which supported both the project's design and construction phases.
The bridge replaces two perched culverts that blocked fish passage for resident and anadromous fish in Indian Creek and nearby Rattlesnake Creek, a major tributary of the White Salmon River.
In addition to new habitat, the project suppported local economies: Tenneson Engineering and Inter-Fluve of The Dalles and Hood River, Oregon, respectively, designed the 21-ft modular bridge. It was fabricated by Pacific Bridge and Construction of Sandy, Oregon, and construction was completed in late September by McNealy Construction of Washougal, Washington.
The project completion timing couldn't be better: salmon are now returning to the White Salmon River to spawn, and in several months, winter steelhead will arrive. With Condit Dam--once 7.5 miles downstream--gone, The Indian Creek Fish Passage Project and other restoration efforts in the upper Basin give them have access to high quality habitat for the first time in nearly a century. In addition to providing in-stream access for adults to spawn and juvenile fish to rear, the bridge's design accommodates more natural flows in Indian Creek and a stream channel that better handles high water and movement of natural debris and sediment.
It also represents achievement of another habitat success story in the White Salmon Basin and the power of collaboration between partners sharing a common vision to restore healthy habitats and fish runs in one of the Northwest's most biologically diverse rivers.
And for fish and the humans with whom their fate is intertwined, that's a real treat.
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