Ochoco Preserve Project Moves Forward

Sep 09, 2022
The first phase of the major Ochoco Preserve renovation continues. Get the latest update!


The first phase of the major Ochoco Preserve renovation continues. In our previous update, crews had just begun creating the new floodplain and mixed topography that will be on the east side of McKay Creek. That work has been ongoing, including the re-meandering of McKay Creek, which is almost complete. Crews have also been creating side channels and an acclimation pond.

The acclimation pond will be a boost for fish reintroduction efforts. Once construction is complete, the pond will be naturally fed by McKay Creek. At the pond, young spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead will imprint on the water in McKay Creek, meaning they will use their sense of smell to remember their home creek. Then, they will be released on their journey to the Pacific Ocean and, hopefully, using their sense of smell, return to McKay Creek to spawn.

In addition, crews continue to build log jams and other wood structures as part of the restoration. Some of these structures extend partway across the stream channel while others span the entire channel. This will help create more diverse habitat within the creek. In addition, smaller dam-like structures are being built to imitate beaver dams, create pools, and help connect McKay Creek to the surrounding area. These structures are designed so that water can flow through them, even though they will span an entire side channel of the creek.

Part of Ochoco Preserve as construction began and after new channels of McKay Creek have been created. Photos: Land Trust.
Part of Ochoco Preserve as construction began and after new channels of McKay Creek have been created. Photos: Land Trust.



What's next?
As the active construction phase comes to a close, our last step will be to fill the newly built McKay Creek channel with water. Later this month we will work with our partners to safely move fish from the old McKay Creek channel downstream to the Crooked River. Then, the old channel will be blocked off and water will be sent into the newly restored channel. Finally, in October and November, new native plants will be going in! We will have volunteer planting parties so you can get involved in helping create better habitat for wildlife at Ochoco Preserve. Stay tuned for more details next month!

A special thank you to Portland General Electric, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Fisheries Restoration and Enhancement Act of 1989, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and many others for their support of the Ochoco Preserve Project.


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