Nugget Newspaper - Sisters, Oregon News, Events, Classifieds | Sisters, Oregon

HOMECALENDARNEWSCLASSIFIEDSCouponsNUGGET BLOGVideo LibraryWeatherROAD REPORT
Latest Sisters, Oregon, weather
Current News
• Current News
Education
Business
Sports
Health
Home & Garden
Columns
Obituaries
Announcements
Area Events
Calendar
Arts & Entertainment
Student of the Month
Archive
Editorial
Letters
Contact List
Advertising
Camp Sherman
City of Sisters
Deschutes County
Public Library
Sisters Guide
Sisters Chamber
Sisters Map
Sisters Rodeo
Sisters Schools
SPRD




Advanced Search

home : current news : current news January 24, 2015


10/1/2013 1:41:00 PM
Forest Service works on fish passage
Nate Dachtler and Steve Wooley watching the results of their work on the new fish-friendly spillway from Suttle Lake.  photo by Jim Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Nate Dachtler and Steve Wooley watching the results of their work on the new fish-friendly spillway from Suttle Lake. photo by Jim Anderson

By Jim Anderson
Correspondent

If there are any questions about the changes of water usage in Sisters Country, all one has to do is look at Whychus Creek, the Metolius River - and now Suttle Lake. Where irrigation and recreation were once the only interests in water, now projects favoring fish are everywhere.

The latest of these projects is the modification of Suttle Lake dam, where starts Lake Creek on its journey to the sea.

Nate Dachtler, fishery biologist on the Sisters District, with the help of Paul Powers, Cari Press, and Alan Buehrig, prepared a hydrological design to provide fish passage and improve habitat at the dam built in 1960 at the outlet of Suttle Lake.

The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs partnered on the project.

The old 1930s concrete dam remnants are being removed from the lake, and a new outlet will allow passage of all life stages of fish (per ODFW fish passage criteria) and provide improved habitat for spawning, rearing, and migration at the outlet of the lake.

Last Thursday, the crew working on the new dam watched as Ron Bussard, operating an excavator, deftly removed the heavy plastic pond liner and then concrete ecoblocks holding back the water, and the level of the lake slowly began to lower approximately 0.3 inch.

Three-tenths-of-an-inch reduction of the level in Suttle Lake may not sound like much - but coupled with a new design of the outlet, with riffles that encourage and contribute to fish health, an island, and a new side channel for high-water time - it means all the fish wanting to, can get to and from Suttle Lake safely.

Records of historical sockeye runs to Suttle Lake that went on up to spawn in Link Creek are sparse, but it is known that a run did exist, which may have been extinct by 1940, previous to the completion of the Pelton Round Butte Dams. An earlier power dam built at the outlet of Suttle Lake had a fish ladder, but passage may have been used only under the right conditions.

Also, a dam and swimming pool were built at Lake Creek Lodge some time between 1925 and 1948; all of these structures apparently had passage problems and may have started to contribute to the decline of sockeye as early as 1925.

Spring Chinook were documented spawning in Lake Creek prior to the construction of a hatchery on Spring Creek in 1947. After the hatchery was in place, a fish rack was placed on the Metolius River to capture the entire run of Chinook, and the last good Chinook run observed at the Spring Creek Hatchery was in 1953.

Currently, redband trout, bull trout, Chinook salmon, brown trout, brook trout, Kokanee salmon, mountain whitefish, sculpins and longnose dace inhabit Lake Creek. A smolt trap set up on Lake Creek at the outlet of Suttle Lake found Kokanee smolts leaving Suttle Lake into Lake Creek during the springtime.









Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


















© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. The Nugget Newspaper, Inc.
PO Box 698 • 442 E. Main Ave., Sisters, Oregon 97759 • 541-549-9941 office • 541-549-9940 Fax

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved