Thursday, May 3, 2012

Steamboat Falls Fish Ladder Update

I know you would like an update on ODFW plans for the summer and the repair work that will be done on the ladder. Yesterday I had a conversation with Tim Walters and today I attended the pre bid meeting at Roseburg office of ODFW. I can tell you all that our concerns for migrating steelhead are going to be taken care of now and hopefully well into the future.

Bids are due back into ODFW on May 17th.  It will take a couple of weeks before contract is actually awarded. Steamboat Falls Campground will be closed to the public on July 9th and General Contractor will be able to start their mobilization. There will be minimal in stream work allowed until August 1st and the ladder will remain open.

As soon as it is safe to enter the ladder, hopefully by the 1st of July, crews from ODFW will clear debris and make sure there are adequate flows for fish passage. It is the hope of ODFW fish biologists that a good many steelhead will pass through the ladder during the month of July and make it up to the Big Bend Pool where they will be safe and resting in cool water. Work during the month of July is not to  start until 9:00AM to allow as many fish as possible to pass through the ladder without any disturbances. Steelhead seem to move most early morning and early evening.

Fish that remain in the pool below the falls during the month of August while the ladder is closed will be protected from any human harassment. The pool will be closed to the public and there will be no swimming allowed. USFS will post closure signs and have patrols watching out for violators. At the pre bid meeting it was made clear to potential contractors that none of their crew would be allowed to swim there either.

It is my understanding that the ladder has to be made fish passable by September 1st and the project has to be completed by September 14th. There is a penalty clause of $1000.00 per day if schedule is not met.

I hope this alleviates some of the worries you have had about construction time frames and the fish we are trying to protect. If desired, you can go to State of Oregon website to download plans and specs. You will have to register but it is no big deal.

Jon Kurtz

President, The North Umpqua Foundation

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