More funding puts Ash Creek project near start

INDEPENDENCE -- The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board will help fund a stream restoration project on Ash Creek near the old Mountain Fir Timber Company site.

The state will pay $20,625 for the work, which includes restoring the company's old pond and removing the remains of an old dam -- which broke apart two years ago -- just beneath the F Street bridge.

Invasive weeds will be cleaned out of the pond, and native shrubs and trees will be planted around its perimeter.

About 50 boulders will be laid along the stream to create pockets of calm water that will serve as a winter refuge for rearing steelhead and Chinook salmon.

Getting rid of the dam and restoring the creek will also open several miles of Ash Creek's south fork to migrating fish, said a spokesman for the Luckiamute Watershed Council (LWC).

The organization developed the two-year project along with the City of Independence, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, state and local agencies.

Students from Western Oregon University and Central High School will handle monitoring of fish and invertabrate species in the years following the restoration, which is scheduled to begin this summer.

LWC has already received $56,000 from the state and the Oregon Wildlife Hertiage Foundation, the Ash Creek Water Control District and other sources.

For more information: Michael Cairns at 503-838-8804.

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