In 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a Biological Opinion (BiOp) for the Rogue River Basin that identifies restoration of 18 acres of riparian area in the Bear Creek watershed.
In 2014, Reclamation awarded a cooperative agreement with The Freshwater Trust [The Trust]
to implement the initial phases of the riparian restoration to improve the populations of coho salmon habitat in Bear, Emigrant, and South Fork Little Butte Creeks.
By 2019, the initial phases of this project will be completed and ongoing stewardship for the Large Woody Materials (LWM) and riparian sites will be needed.
This proposal will be for the maintenance, monitoring, and landowner payment costs that are expected to continue to accrue for a minimum of 5 years on project sites.
This effort is part of a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative to reduce the risk of jeopardy to threatened Southern Oregon and Northern California Coast (SONCC) Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch).
As part of the BiOp commitments, Reclamation submitted to NMFS a Riparian Zone Management Plan for the restoration of three miles (18 acres) of riparian zone within the Bear Creek watershed to mitigate impacts to threatened SONCC Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchs kisutch) arising from the operation and maintenance of the Rogue River Basin Project (Rogue River Project).
The Trust has worked on many habitat restoration projects in Oregon, particularly streamside and aquatic restoration on the Rogue River and its tributaries.
The Trust’s aquatic restoration program has successfully created crucial habitat for winter and summer rearing Coho Salmon and steelhead, where it has been lost or severely degraded, through the development of numerous side channels, meanders, large woody structures, and pool tailouts.
The aquatic restoration program is further enhanced by their riparian restoration program, which ensures successive streamside vegetation that will contribute shade and, ultimately, wood to streams.
With local staff, The Trust developed a trusting working relationship with several private landowners negotiating and securing agreements and identifying project locations for riparian restoration which has resulted in improved riparian conditions on private lands.
They continue to help Reclamation complete its Rogue River Basin riparian restoration requirements through the maintenance and monitoring of existing restoration projects in the Bear Creek watershed that will improve threatened SONCC Coho Salmon and their habitat.