• Improvements to key Northeast Oregon creek will create better salmon spawning habitat

    Catherine Creek is a 32-mile long tributary of the Grande Ronde River in Northeast Oregon. It is home to a population of Snake River spring/summer chinook and steelhead that biologists believe is critical to restoring these listed species.


    Logging roads, ranching and diversions have changed the creek’s natural floodplain, eliminating side channels, natural meanders and vegetation that offer refuge and food for salmon.


    In 2011, the USDA Forest Service restored approximately 4.5 miles of the South Fork of Catherine Creek to improve floodplain function and connectivity and to restore in-stream habitat.








    They re-contoured the road next to the stream to allow for more natural runoff and re-established two miles of floodplain.





    They created a more natural stream environment by adding 156 large trees and 57 large boulders to the stream. 




    restored a quarter mile of overflow channel/side channel by reconnecting existing side channels to the stream and removing human-placed fill from the floodplain. Approximately 30 logs and five dump truck loads of woody debris were placed in and around the side channel to provide habitat and floodplain roughness.  









    In spring of 2012, they planted the area with 9,000 deciduous and coniferous seedlings and transplanted 800 sedge plants. 


    The important spawning area is now restored to a more natural state that salmon and steelhead can use. 

  • Project at a glance

    Location: South Fork Catherine Creek, a tributary to the Grande Ronde River, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in NE Oregon


    Biological objectives: Increase spawning and rearing habitat for ESA-listed fish.


    Species: Snake River spring/summer chinook, Snake River steelhead - priority populations in the FCRPS BiOp; bull trout


    Partners: US Forest Service, Grande Ronde Model Watershed, Oregon Department of Transportation, BPA


    References: NOAA Fisheries Draft Oregon Snake River Recovery Plan, Subbasin Plan for the Upper Grande Ronde Subbasin, FCRPS BiOp RPA #35