Tucannon "Dam Busters" Help Anadromous Fish
Tucannon "Dam Busters" Help
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.
Columbia County, Lower-Snake Tucannon Watershed
Recreational dams made by forest visitors, to form a
swimming hole or place to cool beverages, traps and kills endangered
salmon and Bull trout.
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
Biologists Bill Dowdy, Pomeroy Ranger District, and Tom Schirm, WDFW, sought
assistance to address the "alarming" number of recreational dams in the Tucannon
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.
Tiger Tate, a senior at Dayton High School, while assisting the Blue Mountain
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.
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 was removed helping migrating and spawning fish.
Last September, Tate was looking at options for
a senior project and a partnership to meet resource goals naturally fell into
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.
Lisa Naylor, Blue Mountain RC&D Council,