Help River Steward Matt Lund restore connection to 13 miles of high quality habitat in the North Creek sub-basin.
River Steward Matt Lund rallied his community to write a letter to the USFS concerning the problematic conditions at North Creek. Now the MidCoast Watersheds Council, the Salmon Drift Creek Watersheds Council, Siuslaw National Forest, and Bluebacks Chapter of Trout Unlimited are all partnering to complete this restoration project.
Before road construction in 1958, small boulders, cobble, and gravel settled near the mouth of North Creek as each storm flow subsided. Excellent salmon spawning and rearing habitat was formed. The 4.4 square mile North Creek watershed was home to migratory Chinook and Coho salmon, steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, and pacific lamprey. Fifty-seven years ago, during construction of Forest Road 1790, a culvert less than half bank full width was placed 750 feet above the mouth of North Creek.
Road/stream crossing structure replacement at Road 1790/North Creek will restore fish access to an estimated 13 miles of sea-run cutthroat trout, 5.4 miles of winter steelhead, and 3.4 miles of Oregon Coast coho salmon habitat. Restoring stream bank width at this road crossing will allow cobble, gravel, and large wood to one again form Chinook salmon spawning and rearing habitat near the mouth of North Creek. The Drift Creek basin, according to genetic studies completed by the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians (see attached support letter) contains a population of Chinook Salmon distinct within the Siletz River Basin.
The Oregon Fish Commission identified the North Creek culvert fish passage a problem in 1961. Over the years, engineered fish passage improvement projects have been attempted but all have failed. Storm flows destroyed concrete lined pools below the culvert outlet in the early 1960's. Concrete weirs built in 1982 were unsuccessful even with modifications and the addition of boulders and large wood. North Creek below the culvert had been Chinook spawning and rearing habitat. High culvert water velocity eroded stream cobble and gravel leaving exposed bedrock. Chinook salmon have not been found in North Creek for decades. Culvert replacement with an aquatic organism passage structure is the only solution to restoring fish passage and watershed processes to North Creek.