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ODFW seeks comment on Upper and Lower Pony Creek dams fish passage waivers

September 23, 2014

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a request to waive fish passage requirement for an existing dam on Lower Pony Creek and to amend an existing waiver for a second dam on Upper Pony Creek, both near Coos Bay.

The Coos Bay North Bend Water Board has requested the waivers and has proposed restoring habitat in Matson Creek, a subwatershed of the Catching Slough, to mitigate for the loss of passage on Pony Creek. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be asked to approve the waivers at its Dec. 5, 2014 meeting in Salem.

In the meantime, members of the public will have until Oct. 15, 2014 to submit written comments on the two proposed actions, for consideration by the Oregon Fish Passage Task Force. The Task Force will consider comments on these waiver requests at its next meeting Oct. 17 at the ODFW Headquarters in Salem. Members of the public area welcome to attend.

The applicant’s plan to structurally retrofit the Lower Pony Creek Dam and amend the existing passage waiver for Upper Pony Creek Dam has triggered a state requirement to consider fish passage. Currently, the existing dams on Pony Creek are complete barriers to the passage of native migratory fish.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission can waive the passage requirements on Pony Creek if the restoration in Matson Creek would provide more benefit to native migratory fish. The applicant has proposed restoring Matson Creek which will provide year-round rearing, foraging, and refuge habitat for native migratory fish. ODFW has made an initial determination that the proposed restoration activities in Matson Creek would result in a net benefit to migratory fish by providing restored habitat conditions for coastal cutthroat trout, coho, Chinook, chum, winter steelhead and lamprey species. Presently, only cutthroat trout reside in Pony Creek.

Copies of the fish passage waiver application, ODFW benefit analysis and proposed waiver agreements can be found on the ODFW Web site .

Members of the public can send written comments to or request additional information from Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program Coordinator, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., Salem, Ore. 97302, e-mail,, or by calling (503) 947-6228.

There also will be an opportunity for public comment at the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on Dec. 5, 2014 at ODFW headquarters in Salem.


Greg Apke (503) 947-6228
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

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