In the summer of 2007, the South Santiam Watershed Council and The Campbell Group replaced a failing culvert that prevented passage for native migratory fish. In place of the culvert, a bridge was installed which allows now for free fish passage and a stream system restored to its more natural state.
This culvert was undersized for the size of the stream, a fact made evident by the presence of two overflow pipes installed 5 ft. above the culvert inlet. During high flows, water backed up behind the culvert crossing and wore away at the existing road, regularly flushing fine sediment downstream.
Additionally, the high velocity of water from the under-sized culvert scoured the stream bottom and bank downstream. This sediment intruded into the stream environment, degrading spawning habitat and other gravel deposits in Wiley Creek. In addition, the ultimate destabilization of the road from continued weathering was a significant erosion concern, for if the entire road were to wash out, the sediment scour and deposition could be severe and result in major habitat degradation comparable to an extreme landslide impact. Fine sediment contributions to Wiley Creek degrade water quality and affect all fish species including ESA listed winter steelhead, ESA listed spring chinook, pacific lamprey, and cutthroat trout.
Monitoring of the project has occurred annually since 2008. Juvenile salmonids were observed in several locations above the recently installed bridge. For more information see the 2008 Wiley Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project Report.
The project was funded through a grant by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and cash match by the Campbell Group.
Photo gallery of Wiley Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project: