The Calapooia River (Oregon) flows thru my little town. Its origin is in the Cascade Mountains and it is a lovely stream until it hits the flats in the valley. The chinook salmon are gone. For years the Fish & Wildlife stocked the river with planter trout, but they ceased doing that about ten years ago. THe plan was to nuture the small wild steelhead run in the river. I caught one trout locally two years ago. Last year I caught dozens. This year I am guessing it will be even better. Why has this occurred?THere is a local group called the Oregon Watershed Council. They came to town and made grassroots presentations to the City Council and really to anyone who would listen. Four years and here is the adopted plan.
1. removal of the dam a mile upstream from town. Repair the stream bed at the location. There is a natural rapids there that will be fixed. Kayakers are already enthusiastic.
Presently, the so-called fish ladder is a joke. How the steelhead make it upstream is a testament to their instinct and stamina.
2. continue planting of native trees, grasses and shrubs. This is three years ongoing now and with the cooperation of many streamside ranchers and farmers. I have hiked the river for several miles and have seen improvements.
3. remove or greatly modify two small dams downstream from town. These were built decades ago to supply flow to the Boston Mill where local folks had their grain processed. The State of Oregon has purchased the property for a park. There will be a much smaller flow for possible demonstration purposes and most of the water will be redirected into the main river.
This is a brief description of how a few people can achieve great things. The dam removals and modifications, the streambed repair and the fish ladder fixing will be funded by grants.
This is a stunningly wonderful thing and I am happy for the fish, for the gorgeous Calapooia River and of course for me and anyone who enjoys the river.
It is possible to make things better.
"Give me ambiguity or give me something else"