EAGLE POINT, Ore. — Repairs to a fish passage facility and reconstruction of a rock weir on Little Butte Creek are providing additional upstream access for salmon and steelhead and improving fish habitat. Little Butte Creek is an important tributary of the Rogue River and provides spawning and rearing habitat for coho and chinook salmon, and steelhead.
In 2005, significant flooding had damaged or destroyed a newly installed fish ladder and rock weir at the Butte Grist Mill dam, located about five miles upstream from Little Butte Creek’s confluence with the Rogue River.
“After the repair, it’s working like it’s supposed to,” said Janelle Dunlevy, project manager for the Rogue Basin Coordinating Council, who oversaw the project. “It’s backing up water against the weir, creating fish habitat between the weir and dam, and the fish ladder is working properly.”
With the fish ladder repaired and the weir rebuilt, salmon and steelhead will be able to reach an additional 22 miles of upstream habitat while the weir is adding more pool habitat below the dam and reducing erosion to the creek’s banks, Dunlevy said.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program contributed $36,000 to help fund the repair work. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Bureau of Reclamation, Rogue Basin Coordinating Council and the Southwest Region ODFW are also provided funding or in-kind contributions. Total project cost was about $122,500.
Created by the Oregon Legislature in 1989, the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program is funded by a surcharge on sport and commercial fishing licenses and commercial poundage fees. The program’s seven-member citizen board reviews fish restoration and enhancement project proposals and makes funding recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
For more information on the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program, or to view information regarding current R&E Program applications, visit www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/RE or contact program coordinator Laura Tesler at (503) 947-6259.