In the past, bull trout were abundant and widely distributed in the
Willamette Basin, including the Clackamas River. They were a
historical component of the river’s native fish assemblage that
evolved over thousands of years. Currently, bull trout are extirpated
from the Clackamas River Subbasin; there have been no documented sightings
of bull trout in the Clackamas River since 1963. The bull trout was
listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service in 1998. Efforts to recover the species
are underway, including restoring the species to areas from which
it has been lost.
On June 21, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the State of Oregon, USDA Forest Service and other project partners, published a final rule in the Federal Register to establish a nonessential experimental population (NEP) of bull trout in the Clackamas River and its tributaries in Clackamas County, Oregon, under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The geographic boundaries of the NEP would include the entire Clackamas River subbasin as well as the mainstem Willamette River, from Willamette Falls to its points of confluence with the Columbia River, including Multnomah Channel. Based on findings from the 2007 Clackamas Bull Trout Reintroduction Feasibility Assessment, we believe a reintroduction of bull trout to the Clackamas River subbasin is biologically feasible and will promote the recovery of the species. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with our project partners, plan to begin translocating multiple life stages of bull trout from the Metolius River to the Clackamas River in July 2011.
For further information, contact: Chris
Allen, biologist, Oregon
Fish and Wildlife Office, (503) 231-6179.
Bull Trout Spawning in Clackamas River Basin
Video courtesy of Trevor Diemer, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
On October 4, 2011, a pair of radio-tagged bull trout digging a redd in Pinhead Creek were captured on video by personnel from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Several days later, the same two fish were captured on video again excavating a second redd a short distance downstream from the first. (See ODFW news release.) These observations represent the first documentation of spawning by bull trout that were reintroduced into the Clackamas River in late June and early July of 2011, after a 50-year absence from the watershed.
A subsequent redd survey by ODFW, USFWS, and the US Forest Service, in mid-October, documented an additional four redds that likely were constructed by other reintroduced, radio-tagged bull trout that had been detected migrating into Pinhead Creek in September and early October. Future monitoring will attempt to determine whether reintroduced bull trout are spawning successfully; in other words, contributing offspring to the reestablishment of bull trout in the Clackamas River.
Planning for the reintroduction of bull trout in the Clackamas River began about seven years ago. Partners in the effort include ODFW, USFWS, US Forest Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, and PGE. Last summer, the partners released 58 wild, radio-tagged, adult and sub-adult bull trout into the Clackamas River along with 58 juveniles. All of the bull trout released into the Clackamas were captured from the Metolius River and Lake Billy Chinook. Additional bull trout releases are planned annually for up to seven years.
Check back on this web site for a more comprehensive update on monitoring results from the first year of the reintroduction project. For more information, contact Chris Allen, USFWS at 503-231-6179 or Patrick Barry, ODFW at 971-673-0578.
Bull Trout Reintroduction Documents
Click a link below to view related documents.