Opal Springs Fish Passage:
Located on the Crooked River at mile 7.2 the Opal Springs Hydro Dam project, generates electricity that is used to pump water out of Opal Springs up out of the 300 foot tall canyon walls. The impassable fish barrier at the hydro project listed # 2 ODFW's Statewide Fish Passage Priority List.
Construction began early in 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2019; providing full passage to anadromus steelhead and Chinook Salmon. Other fish species will also benefit from this fish passage in extending their range of movement; thus helping their genetic diversity.
1960s: Anadromous fish no longer able to reach Deschutes Basin above Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project because of dam building
1982: Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project authorized. Fish passage not required or provided due to lack of anadromous fish below the project.
1985: Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project commissioned and licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
2007: Salmon and steelhead reintroduced into Upper Deschutes Basin, upstream of the Pelton Round Butte Project. Fish begin repopulating Upper Deschutes, Metolius and Crooked Rivers south of Lake Billy Chinook.
2008: Deschutes Valley Water District engages with relevant government agencies to discuss a collaborative solution to fish passage into upper river reaches
2011: A comprehensive agreement is concluded that helps set the direction for fish passage
2012: First adult salmon and steelhead documented as returned to the Pelton Round Butte Project. Deschutes Valley Water District begins passing fish above the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project through a trap-and-haul effort in response to a request from Federal and state agencies
2016: First bids from contractors come in. Deschutes Valley Water District consults partners regarding the project’s economic feasibility, and the project is redesigned to decrease the pool raise to three feet.
2017: Deschutes Valley Water District provides update to FERC on value engineering agreement to reduce project cost, May.
2018: Groundbreaking June 2018: In-water work begins November
2019: Fish passage begins
Lower Crooked River Strategic Restoration (LCRSR):
The LCRSR, is a comprehensive project intended to address degraded fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and riparian plant communities over 17 miles of the Crooked River in Central Oregon. Proposed restoration activities include both instream and riparian restoration to improve habitat for fish and wildlife, water quality, and agricultural productivity. In addition, the project will reduce the threat of regulatory enforcement associated with the Federal Endangered Species Act and compliance with non-point source impacts from agriculture under Sections 303 and 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act.
The project area is within the Lower Crooked River watershed on the mainstem Crooked River from approximately river miles 30-47. The project area is ~6,200 acres, with the boundaries being State Highways to the east and south, a county road to the west. The north boundary is partially set by a county road and partially by the topographic change from existing basalt ridgelines which create a sharp break from irrigated agriculture to a more upland landscape.
The project area is a major focus for the reintroduction of anadromous fish to the Upper Deschutes Basin above the Pelton-Round Butte hydroelectric complex on the mainstem Deschutes River. Since the beginning of the reintroduction effort in 2007, juvenile smolts from the Crooked River have been the most successful and over 95 percent of returning steelhead have returned to the Crooked River. There has been a consistent increase in the number of returning adult steelhead, and the first spawning since the 1960s was documented in 2015 in McKay Creek within the project area. In addition, Chinook salmon returns have been slowly increasing. This project will leverage the impact of the completed and remaining fish passage activities to increase the ecological benefits and vastly improve the habitat potential for anadromous fish in the Lower Crooked River.
Private land owner projects:
The Crooked River Watershed Council has been working with private land owners for 25 years now. It is the cooperation and relationships of these land owners that shapes the direction and ability for the CRWC to conduct aquatic habitat restoration on the watershed scale. Most projects though focusing on aquatic habitat restoration often bring an added value to the land owners agriculture operations; such as agriculture fencing, irrigation diversion removal/instilation, cattle watering troughs,