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Tucannon "Dam Busters" Help Anadromous Fish

Highlights in Conservation icon

Tucannon "Dam Busters" Help Anadromous Fish

Recreational dams on Hixon Creek threaten endangered fish species. Spring run Chinook salmon, and Steelhead cannot migrate to the ocean and return to their spawning grounds. Bull Trout are prevented from completing life cycle.

Recreational dams on Hixon Creek threaten endangered fish species. Spring run Chinook salmon, Steelhead, and Bull Trout cannot migrate to the ocean and return to their spawning grounds.

Location icon
Columbia County, Lower-Snake Tucannon Watershed

Project Summary icon
Recreational dams made by forest visitors, to form a swimming hole or place to cool beverages, traps and kills endangered salmon and Bull trout.

Conservation Partners icon
USDA - Blue Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D), Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Dayton High School

Resource Challenges icon
Biologists Bill Dowdy, Pomeroy Ranger District, and Tom Schirm, WDFW, sought assistance to address the "alarming" number of recreational dams in the Tucannon drainage.

Recreational dams built by the public prohibit anadromous fish from migrating and spawning in the Lower-Snake Tucannon watershed block accesses to the Pacific Ocean. Without help, endangered runs of salmon and Bull trout face an uncertain future.

Conservation Program Used icon
Tiger Tate, a senior at Dayton High School, while assisting the Blue Mountain RC&D with his Venture project, received a $1,000 grant to improve endangered fish habitat in the Tucannon drainage area. The funds will support the recreational dam removal project this year and next.

Innovations and Highlights icon
Tate led a cooperative effort to remove recreational dams with partners USDA Forest Service, WDFW, Blue Mountain RC&D and local Boy Scouts Troop 332.

Hixon Creek again flows freely once the restrictive dam is removed. Migrating fish can move easily within Hixon Creek and the Lower Snake-Tucannon River system.

Hixon Creek again flows freely once the restrictive dam was removed helping migrating and spawning fish.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Last September, Tate was looking at options for a senior project and a partnership to meet resource goals naturally fell into place.

Tate's senior project, “Save the Tucannon River Salmon”, coordinated the work party, safety gear, supplies, transportation and refreshments for a crew who removed these dams in the same way they were created. The Blue Mountain RC&D also provided technical expertise, grant writing, and project coordination. Tate also coordinated with the Forest Service to prepare visitor information outlining the concerns (and penalties) of harming endangered fish.

Contact icon
Lisa Naylor, Blue Mountain RC&D Council, (509) 382-8968

NRCS, 2-2008