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ODFW seeks comment on a Port of Portland fish passage exemption request for the Sundial Chanel, off Salmon Creek (Multnomah County)

September 15, 2021

SALEM, Ore. – ODFW is seeking public comment on a request to exempt the fish passage requirements for a channel created as wetland mitigation off Salmon Creek, in Multnomah County, Ore.

Historically, the area around Salmon Creek provided habitat for multiple species of native migratory fish including salmon and trout. The area was likely complex floodplain habitat of the Columbia River. However, Salmon Creek has been ditched and the area has been filled to accommodate development. A levee constructed between the Columbia River and the historic floodplain excludes native migratory fish from the system. In 2018 the Port of Portland built the Sundial Channel to create wetlands as mitigation for development of separate industrial land. Before construction in 2018, the project acquired a surface water right. However, subsequent monitoring indicated that the wetland was functioning differently than expected and a permit to store water was needed. The first water right was approved without conditions, but the review of the application to store water determined the need to address fish passage at the site.

ODFW can exempt fish passage requirements at an artificial obstruction if passage at the site would not provide any appreciable benefit to native migratory fish. The Sundial Channel is 0.86 miles long and not built to ODFW fish passage criteria. The conditions in the channel may strand fish at certain flows. However, surveys found that there are no fish in the sounding area and fish are prevented from entering the area by a downstream barrier.

ODFW has made an initial determination that native migratory fish would not benefit from better fish passage conditions in the Sundial Channel. The Fish Passage Task Force will be asked to consider this exemption request and provide a recommendation to the Department at its virtual meeting on Oct. 15, 2021.

Project details, the fish passage exemption application, and ODFW benefit analysis, and supporting information can be found on the ODFW Fish Passage Task Force website.

Written public comments may be submitted through Oct. 6, 2021.

Members of the public can send written comments to or request additional information from Katherine Nordholm, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., Salem, Ore. 97302, e-mail or by calling (503) 507-5843.

There will also be an opportunity for public comment at the Fish Passage Task Force meeting on Oct. 15, 2021. If you wish to provide a verbal public comment, you must pre-register 48 hours in advance of the meeting (more info on how to register available closer to meeting).


Contact: Katherine Nordholm (503) 507-5843,
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