The district is currently rebuilding the Minto Adult Fish Collection Facility on North Santiam River, four miles downstream of Big Cliff Dam and seven miles downstream of Detroit Dam. Construction should be complete and the new facility operational next spring.
We are also starting work this fall on an 18-month upgrade of a similar facility at Foster Dam on the South Santiam River near Sweet Home. Upgrades to the facilities at Dexter and Fall Creek dams on the Middle Fork Willamette River near Lowell are in the early planning stages.
What’s all the work for? The original facilities collected adult fish for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery program to compensate for habitat blocked by construction of our dams. The new facilities will continue to support that mission, but are primarily designed to safely trap and haul wild adult fish upstream the dams via transport trucks, where they will be released to spawn naturally.
The facilities emphasize hands-off, water-to-water transfer, which dramatically reduces stress on the fish and gives them a better chance of surviving the trip to spawning habitat above the dams.
These upgrades are part of our ongoing efforts to restore Upper Willamette River spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act. They are actions specified in the NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services’ 2008 Willamette Project Biological Opinions.
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