Crews Demolish Dam in Takelma Creek, Restore Access for Salmon

By Izzie Lund  |  Oct. 4, 2023  |  KDRV News

Crews have finished demolishing a 13-foot-high, 70-foot-wide dam in an effort to restore salmon and steelhead habitat in Takelma Creek, according to a news release from WaterWatch of Oregon.

“(The project) opened access to approximately 3.5 miles of formerly blocked spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead, replaced the dam’s water diversion function with a fish-friendly, screened and metered gravity diversion, repaired or partially replaced a leaky water delivery pipe, removed a fish blocking culvert on the Illinois River Road and replaced it with a safer, fish friendly culvert, removed a fish-blocking logging road culvert and replaced it with a fish friendly low-water crossing, and removed a derelict logging road culvert that had long ago washed away and lodged in the bed of Takelma Creek.”

The project was funded from an $8 million grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) dedicated to projects that improve fish habitat, the release said.

“As an avid steelhead fisherman raised fishing on the Illinois in Josephine County, it is deeply satisfying to be a part of this collaborative effort to restore salmon and steelhead to this beautiful stretch of creek,” Scott Wright, lead engineer and project manager for the project said in the release.

“Removing these barriers creates an unhindered pathway for salmon and steelhead between the ocean and prime freshwater spawning and nursery habitat, and increases this watershed’s overall resiliency against the harms of climate change.”

This story originally appeared on KDRV News on Oct. 4, 2023.