Fish find cold refuge, and a popular trail stays dry

Johnson Creek watershed gets structural upgrades

North Fork Johnson Creek has some of the coldest water temperatures in the Johnson Creek watershed. For salmon and other fish, access to these colder waterways is key to survival. Recently, though, downstream barriers have prevented fish from reaching more habitable areas.

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council worked with landowners and agencies to facilitate the removal of high-priority barriers along the basin. One of the main offenders was an undersized pipe beneath the popular Springwater Trail.

With the help of a $25,000 grant from the Habitat Support program, the council was able to install a larger culvert that provides 100 percent access for fish. They also addressed flooding issues by retrofitting a nearby upstream pipe with structures to slow water velocity.

“This project demonstrates why it is important for us to collaborate to solve watershed-wide issues,” said Daniel Newberry, JCWC’s executive director. Collaboration among agencies and private landowners created a broader scale of work with more benefits for water quality, fish habitat and, in this case, recreation. Springwater Trail users can now see the creek, and someday soon, they’ll see fish as well.

Help restore local habitats

You can help The Nature Conservancy with local habitat restoration projects like these by adding PGE Habitat Support for $2.50 a month. Just log in to your PGE account.