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ODFW seeks comments for fish passage exemptions on Crystal Creek and Spring Creek
May 18, 2011


SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on two fish passage exemption requests associated with construction of a new light rail line in Milwaukie. Both requests would exempt from fish passage requirements existing culverts on Crystal Creek and Spring Creek in Clackamas County. Public comments on both exemptions are due by June 8, 2011.

TriMet has proposed construction of a new light rail line travelling from Portland to Milwaukie. This new light rail line will parallel existing Union Pacific Rail Road (UPRR) tracks for part of its length and will cross over Crystal Creek and Spring Creek directly adjacent to the existing UPRR crossings. In order to cross Crystal Creek the existing culvert beneath the UPRR tracks, west of 26th Avenue, will be extended by an additional 20 feet. At Spring Creek, a portion of the approximately 225 foot long existing culvert located south of Harrison St. will have to be replaced. These proposed actions have triggered Oregon’s fish passage laws.

Both Crystal and Spring Creeks flow through residential Milwaukie from their source to their confluences with Johnson Creek. Both creeks suffer from the effects of urbanization, including poor water quality, fish passage barriers and increased sediment.

According to Ken Loffink, ODFW assistant Fish Passage Program coordinator, ODFW may grant the exemptions if there are no appreciable benefits to fish from providing passage. At the proposed TriMet crossing at Crystal Creek, fish passage barriers below the culvert block fish from accessing the project area, as well as the roughly 300 yards of habitat located upstream. At the proposed Spring Creek crossing, fish passage barriers below the culvert block fish from accessing the project area, as well as the roughly .42 miles of habitat located upstream. Historically these creeks may have provided habitat for native migratory fish, but currently there are no native migratory fish present.

Because of these site conditions, ODFW has made an initial determination that even if TriMet provided fish passage at this site, the action would not result in an appreciable benefit to native migratory fish.

Therefore, unless the Department receives public comment that would affect this determination, the exemption request will be approved.

In the meantime, members of the public have until June 8, 2011 to submit written comments on the proposed plan. TriMet’s fish passage exemption applications and the Department’s benefit analyses are available at .



Ken Loffink (503) 947-6256
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

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