On September 14, construction of a new fish ladder on the Lostine River was completed. The project, located approximately 2 miles upriver from the City of Lostine, replaced the aging structure built by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) that no longer met federal and state juvenile fish passage criteria. According to Coby Menton with the Grande Ronde Model Watershed, the project had been discussed for nine years, but only became a priority in fall 2011.
Co-funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and the ODFW, the concrete walls of the original diversion were removed and replaced. The original step-pool structure restricted both adult and juvenile upstream fish passage and was modified to improve passage and habitat for all native fish species occurring in the Lostine River. The aging concrete fish ladder was replaced with a roughened channel composed of boulders and streambed simulation material, making it appear as a more natural river channel. In order to minimize the channel grade, the roughened channel was constructed to be approximately 350 feet long and involved re-grading the existing channel. Woody debris structures with rootwads were also installed to increase fish habitat.
In order to accomplish the in-water work, one side of the river was temporarily moved to one side of the channel at a time. Work occurred during the summer, including partly during the last part of the annual Chinook salmon run. While most of the Chinook had already passed through, electroshocking was conducted to salvage the remaining fish and transport them out of the project area. In order to ensure that fish reached their spawning grounds, Nez Perce Fisheries also trucked salmon upriver.
AP provided design and construction engineering services. The design included creating a Hydrologic Engineering Centers River Analysis System model for the reach.