Four water projects in Oregon have won nearly $6.3 million from state regulators, including two projects with a major impact on fish.
The Opal Springs Fish Passage Project is a collaborative effort to secure upstream fish passage at Opal Springs Diversion Dam, on the Crooked River just upstream from Lake Billy Chinook. The dam, owned and operated by Deschutes Valley Water District (DVWD), largely blocks steelhead and Chinook salmon from reaching more than 100 miles of historic spawning habitat. OWRD awarded $1.5 million for this project.
This project stems from a broadly supported 2011 settlement agreement between Trout Unlimited, Deschutes Valley Water District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish fish passage at the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project.
Also, Trout Unlimited was approved to receive $2.7 million to replace an irrigation canal on the Sprague River watershed with two 36-inch diameter pipes. The unlined ditch lost some 35% of the water conveyed through it to seepage. The new pipes will prevent this loss and allow 90 percent of the water savings to be dedicated to instream flows.
You can read TU’s press release on the new projects here.