Skip Navigation

Lower Crooked River Strategic Restoration

Year Awarded: FY 18
Proposed USDA Funding: $7 million
RCPP Funding Pool: Critical Conservation Area - Columbia River Basin
Project Timeline: 4 years (2018 – 2022)
Location: Crook County, Oregon
Lead Partner: Crooked River Watershed Council

Photo courtesy of the Crooked River Watershed Council

Landscape Farm View in Crooked River Watershed. Photo courtesy of the Crooked River Watershed Council.


Collaborating Partners

  • Private farmers and ranchers
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Portland General Electric - Pelton Fund
  • Crooked River Central Ditch Company
  • Crook County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Crooked River Weed Management Area
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
  • City of Prineville
  • Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs

Project Summary

The Lower Crooked River Strategic Restoration (LCRSR) is a comprehensive project intended to address degraded fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and riparian plant communities over 17 miles of the Crooked River in Central Oregon. Proposed restoration activities include both instream and riparian restoration to improve habitat for fish and wildlife, water quality, and agricultural productivity. In addition, the project will reduce the threat of regulatory enforcement associated with the Federal Endangered Species Act and compliance with non-point source impacts from agriculture under Sections 303 and 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act.

The project area is within the Lower Crooked River watershed on the mainstem Crooked River from approximately river miles 30-47. The project area is ~6,200 acres, with the boundaries being State Highways to the east and south and a county road to the west. The north boundary is partially set by a county road and partially by the topographic change from existing basalt ridgelines which create a sharp break from irrigated agriculture to a more upland landscape.

The project area is a major focus for the reintroduction of anadromous fish to the Upper Deschutes Basin above the Pelton-Round Butte hydroelectric complex on the mainstem Deschutes River. Since the beginning of the reintroduction effort in 2007, juvenile smolts from the Crooked River have been the most successful and over 95 percent of returning steelhead have returned to the Crooked River.  There has been a consistent increase in the number of returning adult steelhead, and the first spawning since the 1960s was documented in 2015 in McKay Creek within the project area.  In addition, Chinook salmon returns have been slowly increasing. This project will leverage the impact of the completed and remaining fish passage activities to increase the ecological benefits and vastly improve the habitat potential for anadromous fish in the Lower Crooked River.

Crooked River RCPP Map

NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Used

Conservation Practices Offered

  • Herbaceous Weed Control
  • Critical Area Planting
  • Fencing
  • Riparian Herbaceous Aquatic Organism Passage
  • Access Control
  • Tree/Shrub Site Preparation
  • Livestock Area Protection
  • Stream Crossing
  • Streambank and Shoreline Protection
  • Prescribed Grazing
  • Pumping Plant
  • Range Planting
  • Heavy Use Area Protection
  • Channel Bed Stabilization
  • Structure for Water Control
  • Tree Shrub Establishment
  • Watering Facility
  • Water Well
  • Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitat
  • Structures for Wildlife
  • Constructed Wetland
  • Wetland Restoration
  • Wetland Creation
  • Wetland Enhancement

Points of Contact

Garry Sanders, Project Manager, Crooked River Watershed Council
Phone: 541-447-8567

Local NRCS Service Center: Crook County

Fencing Crook County Crook County livestock water
Fencing Livestock Watering Facility