BLM Oregon and partners restore fisheries habitat in the Upper Sandy River Basin

Story by Jeanne Panfely, Public Affairs Officer. Photos courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Northwest Oregon District employees and BLM partners recently restored over three miles of floodplain and instream salmon and steelhead habitat in the Upper Sandy River Basin.

Over the course of three helicopter flights in October 2021, July 2022, and August 2022, they delivered more than 500 logs and trees to restore the fish habitat. Logs and trees are necessary for habitat complexity and proper river connections to side channels. The logs will help increase pool depth and frequency. This will help heal habitat meant for salmon and steelhead juvenile rearing. These logs will also assist juveniles and adults as they migrate through BLM reaches towards the ocean.

A helicopter placed a large wood habitat structure on Boulder Creek in July 2022. Peter Kauss, hydrologist and BLM project lead, is leaning against a log in the stream and admiring the partners’ quality work.
A helicopter placed a large wood habitat structure on Boulder Creek in July 2022. Peter Kauss, hydrologist and BLM project lead, is admiring the partners’ quality work.

BLM partners on the project included the Zigzag Ranger District Fisheries staff on the Mt. Hood National Forest and The Freshwater Trust.

“This is a fantastic achievement with an excellent partnership,” said Michael Brown, BLM Oregon Acting Branch Chief, Land, Mineral and Energy Resources. “Thanks to everyone involved for all of the hard work!”

logs lying across a stream
A helicopter placed large wood logs on Clear Fork of the Sandy River in October 2021.
A log suspended from a helicopter
A Columbia helicopter delivers wood to Boulder Creek.

Since the removal of the Marmot Dam and the initiation of large-scale restoration efforts in the area in 2007, there has been a 1.5 to two times increase in annual returns of coho, Chinook salmon, and winter Steelhead. BLM Oregon employees are doing everything they can to ensure this trend continues.