CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Work is underway to repair the fishway system at Willamette Falls. Anglers and other users of the river may be seeing barge traffic as construction materials are transported from down river to the channel leading up to the cul-de-sac and notice fish counts are not being updated.
The fishway has several areas that need attention due to ongoing issues with stability. One of the concrete aprons at fishway leg 2 has become dislodged, a structural joint on the transport channel needs to be reworked to allow for movement, and a tensioning system needs to be added at fishway leg 1. These need to be repaired to protect the structure from future scour at fishway leg 2 and to stop separation of the structure at leg 1, which could lead to failure of the fishway in the near future if left unfixed. This work is being funded through a grant from the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program, which is funded by recreational and commercial fishing license fees.
Work on the project requires the shutdown of all the fish ladders in the fishway system. Any fish using the system will be delayed in their migration until after work on the fishway is completed, which is expected to be mid-October at the latest.
There is an in-water work period for this section of the Willamette River from July 1-Oct. 31. (In-water work periods are times outlined by fish biologists, when work in waterbodies is allowed because impacts to fish, wildlife and habitat will be minimized.) Based on this, river conditions, and other factors, ODFW chose this time period to do the work to have a minimal impact on sensitive populations of anadromous fish—particularly species considered Threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (upper Willamette winter steelhead and spring Chinook).