SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a request to waive fish passage requirements at a culvert being replaced in Klamath County. Comments are due by August 17, 2010.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to replace a culvert on an un-named tributary of Whiskey Creek, tributary of the Sprague River, at MP 36.8 of Oregon Highway 140. ODOT is requesting a fish passage exemption for this culvert. This action has "triggered" Oregon’s fish passage laws.
According to Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program coordinator, the department may exempt an artificial obstruction from providing fish passage if passage would provide no appreciable benefit to native migratory fish. Fish passage exemptions may be revoked in the future if the benefit of providing passage changes.
If passage were to be provided at this site, 0.84 miles (4450 feet) of degraded poor quality habitat would become accessible upstream of the culvert. However, presently there is no downstream connectivity between the tributary and Whiskey Creek, and while native migratory fish were historically present there are currently none in the un-named tributary. Therefore, the ODOT culvert action will result in no net benefit to native migratory fish.
The Department has made an initial determination that currently there would be no appreciable benefit to provide passage at the culvert. Therefore, unless public comment is provided that would affect the Department's determination, the exemption request will be approved.
In the meantime, members of the public will have until August 17, 2010 to submit written comments on the proposed plan. ODOT’s fish passage exemption application and the Department’s Net Benefit Analysis are available at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/passage/
Members of the public can send written comments to or request additional information from Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program leader, 3406 NE Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303, e-mail, Greg.D.Apke@state.or.us, or by calling (503) 947-6228.