PORTLAND, Ore. -- The ODFW is soliciting public comment on an Oregon Department of Transportation request to delay replacement of a culvert on Hwy 20 near Elk City. The culvert is targeted for replacement in order to improve fish passage on Simpson Creek.
The request is to amend an existing Fish Passage Waiver Agreement that requires ODOT to replace the Simpson Creek – Elk City Road culvert along US Hwy 20 as part of the Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville Highway Project. ODOT has asked to postpone the culvert replacement until July 2009.
The mitigation culvert, to be located at the crossing of Simpson Creek and Elk City Road, will provide access to 2.5 miles of upstream habitat for native cutthroat trout, steelhead, and chum, coho and chinook salmon.
To mitigate for the temporary loss of passage, ODOT has agreed to provide additional fish passage and habitat mitigation.
The additional mitigation measures include placing logs and boulders below the culvert to increase pool depth, and placing 200-pound boulders in the culvert to disrupt the flow and create “resting habitat” for migrating fish.
“The department has determined that the additional mitigation would provide a net benefit to fish even if the culvert replacement is postponed,” said Greg Apke, ODFW fish passage program leader. “So unless we receive public comments that would cause us to change this determination, the waiver amendment will be approved.”
The ODOT amendment request letter and the fish passage waiver agreement are available at the ODFW website. Written comments, or requests for additional information, should be sent to Greg Apke, ODFW, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303 or Greg.D.Apke@state.or.us, or by calling 503-947-6228.
Written comments must be received by Oct. 16, 2008 to be considered.