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More Spots for Salmon: A New Culvert on Stephens Creek!

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Here's more news about in-water restoration projects constructed summer and fall. 

Today we’re excited to share pictures of a project near the confluence of Stephens Creek and the Willamette River (just south of this spot).  Perhaps you saw some of the action in person if you regularly travel SW Macadam Avenue (Highway 43).

Previously, Stephens Creek flowed through two corrugated metal culverts under the Lake Oswego trolley track and the regional pedestrian and bike trail. By state law, culverts must provide for fish passage, and these did not. 

old metal culverts on Stephens Creek

Multnomah County's Sellwood Bridge replacement project triggered the opportunity to replace the old metal culverts with a 16 foot wide, 90 foot long arched cement culvert.  This essentially creates a bridge over the stream instead of trying to fit the stream through a metal pipe.  

new cement culvert

The new cement culvert and restored stream improves off-channel fish habitat, so migrating salmon and other fish have a place to get out of the current to rest and feed.  The large size allows the stream to be more naturally connected to the tidal flows of the Willamette River and improves the ecosystem of the area.

Stephens Confluence natural area

 

This culvert project is right next to a project Environmental Services and partners completed in 2008 to restore the confluence of Stephens Creek.  Together, the two projects and other efforts in the larger South Portland Riverbank natural area are protecting and improving water quality and habitat for Portland’s people, fish and wildlife. 

 

The Sellwood Bridge area is still under construction, but you can visit Stephens Creek upstream, in the Stephens Creek Nature Park


Photos:

Top: Old metal culverts under the rail line and trail, looking up stream.

Middle: New cement culvert that allows the stream to flow freely.

Bottom: Standing on the trail over the old culverts, looking at the restored confluence with the river.


Catch up on other news about in-water projects here and here

Stay tuned for another big culvert story from up north in the Columbia Slough!


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