Salt Creek Fish Passage at River Mile 1.6

When: Completed 2018
Where: Salt Creek, a tributary of Little Butte Creek

Objective: A dam removal project to improve fish passage, open up additional spawning habitat, improve juvenile fish survival, and improve the control of irrigation water diversion

New irrigation intake structure on Salt Creek

Salt Creek is a small stream that meets Little Butte Creek near the community of Lake Creek. Despite its size, it maintains a steady flow of cool water throughout the summer, making it a very good place for cold-water fish like trout and salmon to rear. Unfortunately, nine diversion dams interrupt fish movement along roughly four miles of lower Salt Creek. These diversions primarily impact the movement of juvenile trout (Rainbow Trout/juvenile steelhead and Cutthroat Trout) and Coho Salmon during the summer months. But they also slow Coho Salmon and steelhead on their way to spawning grounds in the late fall and winter.

We replaced two gravel push-up dam sites with permanent concrete intake structures. By carefully engineering the intakes, temporary diversion dams made of rock, mud, and logs are no longer needed for the water user to receive irrigation water. The new intake also allows the water user better control of flow into the ditch system.

The water user continues to receive irrigation water and upstream moving fish have much better access to roughly a mile of Salt Creek.

This project would not have been possible without the funding and support from the following:

Bureau of Land Management, Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District, Middle Rogue Steelheaders, NOAA Fisheries, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, private landowner, Resources Legacy Fund, Rogue Basin Partnership, US Forest Service – Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest