Health is restored to Corral Creek near Wilsonville

by: CCSWCD - Last month a dam was removed and constructed log jams were installed on Corral Creek west of Wilsonville.Last month an in-stream dam was removed near Wilsonville from Corral Creek and constructed log jams were installed. The project restored natural stream processes and re-established 2.5 miles of stream habitat for native fish, including cutthroat trout that live year-round in Corral Creek.

The dam was originally constructed to impound water for irrigation on a farm. Current landowners, Chris and Karla Thomson, do not use the dam and suspected that the structure was causing problems in the stream.

They contacted Jenne Reische, riparian specialist for Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, who confirmed the landowners’ suspicions. The dam was disrupting normal stream flow and had created a partial fish passage barrier. In dry summer months the dam was too tall for juvenile fish to jump over and, in rainy months, fast-moving water through the structure made it hazardous for fish to navigate.

After consulting with stream engineers and obtaining necessary permits, the dam was taken apart, carefully removed and hauled to a concrete recycler. Fish passage and natural stream flow were restored.

The constructed log jams now will help retain sediment and gravel where it would naturally occur. The trees and boulders that make up the log jam give juvenile fish a place to rest and hide when water is high and fast. Planting native trees, shrubs and grasses helped speed the recovery of the stream banks after construction.

To celebrate this project, a Corral Creek neighborhood social was held Nov. 9 at the Magness Memorial Tree Farm, part of the World Forestry Center. Streamside landowners mingled, learned about the dam removal and habitat benefits. Experts were on hand to talk about septic system maintenance, pasture management, fish habitat and other conservation issues. Kids were kept busy making fish prints and playing with their handmade wooden fish donated by the Oregon Woodworkers Guild.

The successful completion of this project is the result of a partnership between the Thomsons, Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Rivers- NOAA Community Based Restoration Program.

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