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Wood Placement In Elk Creek Improves Fish Habitat

Aug. 16, 2006

Coos Bay, Oregon — Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Coos Watershed Association are managing a large wood placement in Elk Creek to improve juvenile summer and rearing habitat and adult spawning habitat for coho salmon, cutthroat trout and steelhead.

Beginning Aug. 5, 15 Douglas fir trees with root wads and 36 70-foot long Douglas fir logs were added to a 1.5 mile section of Elk Creek. Elk Creek, located in the Elliott State Forest in Coos County, is a tributary of the Millicoma River in the Coos watershed.

This project will improve juvenile coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout summer rearing habitat by increasing pool volume and providing cover. Juvenile winter habitat will be improved by increasing off-channel habitat and providing main-channel velocity refuge. Another project goal is to improve spawning habitat by building gravel beds.

In the past, ODFW biologists were unable to treat Elk Creek with wood placement because of limitations on the size of available material. Elliot State Forest recently set aside 70-foot conifer logs and donated 15 whole trees out of adjacent timber stands. This larger material will allow for in-stream treatment of a high-priority salmon habitat.

This project is a cooperative effort between the Coos Watershed Association, Elliott State Forest and ODFW. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board provided $70,681 for the project, the Oregon Department of Forestry supplied $72,060 and ODFW contributed $3,000.

“This project is a continuation of the large wood placement that we completed last year,” said ODFW Habitat Biologist Jennifer Feola. “With the Department of Forestry contributing logs and whole trees it eliminated the need to truck logs in from an outside source.”

This project is another successful milestone for the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds as it approaches its 10-year anniversary in 2007. The Oregon Plan, a volunteer-driven initiative, is committed to restoring native fish populations and developing healthy watersheds. Since 1997, state agencies, businesses and individual Oregonians have worked together to restore salmon runs, improve water quality and achieve healthy watersheds. This statewide conservation initiative also aims to provide environmental, cultural and economic benefits to communities throughout the state.


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