Fish ladder to help salmon and steelhead in Oregon
LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) — A fish ladder being constructed this summer at La Grande Reservoir aims to restore salmon and steelhead populations in a previously inaccessible stream channel in Beaver Creek.
The stream channel has been blocked since about 1910 by a dam at La Grande Reservoir, The Observer reported.
A significant number of salmon and steelhead spawned in these areas before the channel was blocked, La Grande Public Works Director Norm Paullus said.
The fish ladder will reopen 17 miles (27 kilometers) of pristine spawning areas for those fish, he said.
Paullus noted that as recently as 10 to 15 years ago, caretakers who lived at the reservoir found steelhead at the base of the dam trying to get over it. Some caretakers reportedly lifted them over the dam and into the reservoir.
The Beaver Creek Project cost $1.4 million, which includes the ladders construction.
The fish ladder being constructed will enable fish to pass around the barrier by giving them the opportunity to swim and leap up a series of relatively low steps into La Grande Reservoir, which is fed by Beaver Creek. Each step will be a concrete vault with a small pool of water where fish can rest before going up the next step.
The reservoir is a backup water source for the city.