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Fish FISH DIVISION
Regulating harvest, protection, and enhancement of fish populations
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Fish Passage

Environmental Restoration Weirs (ERWs)

The Environmental Restoration Weir program is a pilot program established by the Oregon State Legislature in 2021. This program is designed to permit the construction of ERWs in qualifying streams. Approval through the ERW program exempts the ERWs from DSL fill and removal requirements. ODFW may approve ERW projects if they are in qualifying stream reaches.

Qualifying stream reaches must:

  • Be in a closed basin east of the Cascade Mountains. (Closed basins are watersheds that do not flow to the Pacific Ocean.)
  • Be incised or eroded to the extent that the channel bed elevation has been lowered by two feet or more relative to the historic floodplain;
  • Have an estimated median monthly natural streamflow of less than one cubic foot per second during at least two months out of the year; and
  • Not have a healthy native migratory fish population.
  • Oregon's Closed Basins (jpg)

Qualifying environmental restoration weirs must:

  • Be built from natural materials, including wood, earth, dirt, and rock.
  • Only delay or slow, but not prevent, streamflow.
  • Be built in a manner that doesn't require a permit from the Oregon Water Resources Department.
  • Be no larger than necessary to cause overbank flooding during ordinary periods of high streamflow.
  • Provide fish passage meeting the criteria in OAR 635-412-0035 if fish are present at the site.

For a complete list of qualifications and project criteria, see House Bill 2298 and OARs 635-412-0045 to 635-412-0065.

ODFW staff are available to assist landowners interested in the ERW program. Contact the District fish Biologist at your local ODFW Office with questions about fish presence or population health. For more information about the program or for help planning a project or filling out the application, contact Katherine Nordholm, ODFW Fish Screening and Passage Coordinator, at Katherine.E.Nordholm@odfw.oregon.gov or 503-947-6274.

Project Planning

Before planning an ERW project, ODFW recommends landowners coordinate with OWRD and ODFW to verify that the stream reach meets the requirements of the ERW program. Landowners should use the two worksheets below to verify that the project meets the qualifications for the ERW program. Please work with ODFW and OWRD to complete and submit the following two worksheets with your project application.

Landowners that plan to construct ERWs without providing fish passage must contact ODFW to obtain a NMF presence determination. Only ODFW can determine if native migratory fish are present/absent in the stream reach and sampling at the location(s) may be needed to make a determination.

Applying for a ERW Project

Once a landowner has determined that their planned project is in a qualifying stream and meets the program's requirements, they can fill out and submit the ERW Application. A completed application packet should include one ERW Application for each reach, one Construction Worksheet for each weir, and an attached ODFW Worksheet and OWRD Worksheet documenting that the stream meets the qualifications.

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