A subcommittee of the Oregon Board of Forestry has identified two proposals for new state logging rules to keep streams in Western Oregon cool enough for salmon.

One proposal increases no-cut buffer zones to 90 feet. The other offers approaches such as thinning or staggering harvests. Currently, trees must not be cut within 20 feet from streams.

Conservation and fishing groups say neither proposal is sufficient. They say no-cut buffers should be 100-feet deep.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

River levels around the Northwest are dropping as the drought continues - and the water’s getting warmer.
That’s a problem for salmon. Wildlife managers in Washington and Oregon have limited fishing to certain times of day and closed some rivers altogether. But some say that’s not enough to help struggling fish.

Danny Didricksen

Flash floods this August swept mud, debris, and ash through north-central Washington. All that gunk has created an unusual problem for farmers and migratory fish.

Farmers usually install screens on the end of irrigation pipes to prevent clogs. Those screens also keep fish from being sucked out of the water and into farmers’ fields. But fish screens do little good when they get inundated with debris and mud.

Danny Didricksen is with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says crews have been working non-stop to help unclog fish screens.

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

This fall, biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will capture adult Chinook salmon in the Siuslaw River near Mapleton. It's part of a study to estimate this year's return. The last time a study this extensive was conducted was 8 years ago.

Angela Kellner

Behind Cougar Dam on the reservoir is a new project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It’s a Portable Floating Fish Collector, or PFFC. It's about the size of a tennis court. It's moored in place, but can be moved around the body of water to find the sweet spot. After a two-year trial run, it will be disassembled, loaded onto trucks and taken to either Lookout Point or Detroit Reservoir.

Greg Taylor: "My name is Greg Taylor, I'm a fish biologist for the Corps of Engineers at the Willamette Valley project. We operate a number of fish facilities at the dams and then we've got this brand new facility that we're bringing on line here at Cougar Reservoir.

The long-term goal of this project is to get a sustainable run of wild Spring Chinook established above Cougar Dam. The Portable Floating Fish Collector that we're working with today captures juvenile fish in the reservoir so that we can transport them safely downstream.

Shortly after the dam went in place, they were evaluating whether they could establish a run of fish above the dam and it didn't work for a number of reasons. We had temperature issues associated with the dam. So the trap and haul and the downstream passage systems that we had just didn't work so at that time they made a decision to produce hatchery fish in mitigation for the old system that was in place. We've got fish listed on the Endangered Species Act. There's an emphasis on wild fish and wild fish production and so this project is really trying to move towards getting those wild fish reestablished above the dam.

It's sort of a stationary fish vacuum. We've got water being pulled into the throat and then fish go over this velocity barrier and then get caught in a little trap down there and then we'll be able to bring the fish up and then we process them and transport them downstream.

Dolly Greene

After losing nearly 10,000 newly-hatched Coho Salmon in February, a volunteer-run fish hatchery in Florence is regrouping.  While the loss accounted for all of this year’s hatchery Coho in the Siuslaw basin, the number represents less than 1% of the total Coho returns for the river.  

Yesterday we heard about the hatchery loss. Today KLCC’s Jes Burns reports on what the volunteers are doing to keep it from happening again.

Jes Burns

A volunteer-run fish conservation group in Florence is shifting focus nearly two months after suffering a significant set-back.  The Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program, or “STEP,” lost all the newly-hatched Coho from their hatchery on Munsel Creek.  Despite the tenor of media reports at the time, the loss is relatively insignificant from an ecological standpoint.  It's the group's work with local students that’s affected most.  

In the first of a two part series, KLCC’s Jes Burns looks at the hatchery loss and why ODFW decided not to pursue an investigation.

Conservation Group Turns Christmas Trees Into Salmon Habitat

Dec 30, 2013
Michael D. Ellis

Before you kick your dying Christmas tree to the curb, consider this: Members of the conservation group Trout Unlimited would love to turn that tree into fish habitat.

On three Saturdays in January, the Tualatin Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited will be collecting Christmas tree donations at two locations in the Portland metropolitan area. Later, they’ll place the trees into a side channel of the Necanicum River near Seaside, where they will provide predator protection and food sources for baby coho salmon.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Updated  10-29-13

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says two of its employees were injured Monday in a helicopter accident near Days Creek.  ODFW identifies the two passengers as 34-year-old Holly Huchko and 35-year-old Eric Himmelreich, both of whom work out of the Roseburg office for the Umpqua Fish District.  Huchko suffered a broken back and Himmelreich broke two vertebrae.  Pilot Fred Wittlake suffered broken ribs and a broken arm.