South Fork

South ForkBLUE RIVER: The U.S. Forest Service is looking at 834 acres along the South Fork McKenzie River for some restoration work. The area extends from the base of Cougar Dam to the confluence with the McKenzie River (approximately 4.5 miles). Features include the mainstem channel and all the current or historic side channels along with the floodplain. Most of the project area is under Forest Service ownership, except for approximately 32 acres owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The project was designed to improve habitat, ecological function, and biological productivity for endangered species including spring Chinook salmon and bull trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish, western pond turtle, amphibians, beaver, and waterfowl. It is currently in the preliminary design phase with an expected final design by December, followed by and environmental analysis and documentation completed by March of 2016. Officials say comments are appreciated anytime, however, for input to be timely and considered in project design, they should be received by December 13, 2015.

Map of Homestead CampgroundBLUE RIVER: Efforts to reintroduce Chinook salmon in about 24 miles of high quality spawning and rearing habitat at Cougar Reservoir have included the construction of a truck fish and haul facility. The structure is part of an ongoing program to capture adult fish below the dam and transport them by truck to various locations above it, where they are released.

The trap and haul operation extends from late May to mid-October. The current method for “unloading” the fish from the transport trucks can be limited by terrain and poor access to desirable pools. Officials say this results in excessive and rough handling of the fish during the release process and increases the physiological stress on them. As a result, mortality rates are elevated and spawning success is reduced.

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: Purchase copies online at: Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.