Fish Habitat To Be Improved On Four Miles of Lower Williamson River

Release Date: Sep 28, 2011  

Contact(s): Erica Hupp 541-883-6715


Lower Williamson River Landscape

Klamath Falls, Ore– The Fremont-Winema National Forest, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust (KBRT), Oregon Department of Fish, and Wildlife and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (Collier State Park) will be completing a restoration project designed to improve redband trout spawning and rearing habitat on the Lower Williamson River. Activities will occur from the mouth of Spring Creek and upstream four miles to an area just above the Forest’s Williamson River Campground.

The Lower Williamson River Fish Habitat Project began earlier this summer when 65 cubic yards of suitable-sized gravel was placed in known spawning areas. The final step of the project calls for approximately 300 large logs to be placed in the river to replace large wood that had been lost over the past century to human removal, wildfire and natural decay. Large wood plays many roles in river systems, including providing needed structure for maintenance of instream channel conditions, food production (aquatic invertebrates) and essential fish cover for juvenile and adult fish.

“A large helicopter will be used to place three to five pieces of large wood at approximately 50 instream locations,” said Jared Bottcher, Restoration Director for the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust. Depending on weather and helicopter availability, flight operations are planned to occur on Monday, October 3, 2011.

Large wood for the project will come from existing fuels treatment log decks in Collier State Park, natural blow down along both sides of the river within the Fremont-Winema National Forest and J-Spears Ranch lands, and hazard logs felled to provide safe conditions during project operations.

“While the project mimics naturally occurring wood accumulations in the river, it has been designed to maintain current recreation opportunities, such as floating or paddling, through consultation with the Oregon Marine Board in Portland, Ore.,” said JR Collier, Collier State Park Manager.

For safety reasons, members of the general public will need to avoid using the project area during flight operations and for two days after the helicopter leaves the area. The Fremont-Winema National Forest has issued a public closure order for the project area for 48 hours after the project is complete. A copy of the closure order will be posted at the intersections of roads accessing the treatment area. The Williamson River Campground will remain open for use. 

Collier State Park will also close all hiking trails east of the campground and along the Williamson River during the project and for one or two days after the project to allow park staff to evaluate the hiking routes for falling debris hazards. Collier State Park campground will remain open throughout the project.

The Lower Williamson River Fish Habitat Project was identified as a need in the Lower Sprague/Lower Williamson Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) Watershed Assessment. This action plan was completed by the Klamath Watershed Partnership with assistance from local landowners, state and federal agencies and other concerned citizens. Other significant partners include: Trout Unlimited, Klamath Country Flycasters and J-Spears Ranch Company.

For technical information on the project contact:

  • Jared Bottcher, Restoration Director for the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, 541-892-6169 or jbottcher@kbrt.org
  • Neil Anderson, Fisheries Biologist for the Klamath Ranger District on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, (541) 219-1112 or nianderson@fs.fed.us
  • Bill Tinniswood, Asst. District Fisheries Biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (Klamath District), 541-883-5732 or william.r.tinniswood@state.or.us