Something fishy is happening in East Fork Dairy Creek!
In 2013, fish biologist Steve Trask surveyed juvenile fish populations along East Fork Dairy Creek, and discovered this stretch of creek was teeming with winter steelhead and coho activity! Steve shared his findings with nearby landowners and communicated how this important habitat could be further enhanced. Neighboring landowners had observed spawning salmon in the creek, so they were eager to help protect it by stewarding their land.
Collaboration is key:
Migratory fish species rely on cool, clean water as they travel back to their spawning grounds. But today, many streams are degraded so spawning habitat can be difficult to find. Thanks to the participation of four landowners and funding by three conservation organizations, a 1.5-mile stretch of East Fork Dairy Creek and its tributary, Plentywater Creek, will be better able to support these fish on their long journey.
What does habitat improvement look like?
- Fish love the cold water of Oregon’s streams, but certain land uses can warm the water, making it too hot for aquatic creatures. To keep water temperatures low, trees and shrubs are planted along the stream to provide shade.
- Just like people, fish need to rest on long trips. Placing large boulders in the creek slows the flow of water, making it easier for fish to swim upstream. They also create small pools that fish can rest in.
- Young fish are a tasty food source for predators like birds and amphibians. Installing tree trunks throughout the creek provides hiding places for juvenile fish. Trees in streams can also reduce flooding during periods of heavy rain by creating side channels.