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High Water Hides Fish Habitat


Last week’s high water in the Columbia River, Willamette River and the Columbia Slough has covered most of the 35 large fish refugia structures installed to provide fish habitat as part of the Lower Columbia Slough Refugia Project.  This is exactly what was supposed to happen!

Habitat structures exposed by low water during the summer

Habitat structures currently under water

The beautiful Columbia Slough in high water conditions

Please visit the project website to learn more about the ecology, engineering and construction of the Lower Slough Refugia Project. The website also features a new video, produced by the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and volunteer videographer David Biggs, that explains why the structures are designed to be hidden from our view at high water levels.



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Alf nilsen

April 5, 2017 at 4:12 AM

I have lived in north Portland all my life. In 43 years I have never seen or heard of any salmon in the cloumbia slew. Where are the alleged salmon?


Matt Burlin

April 5, 2017 at 2:53 PM

Hello Alf,

Thanks for reading. Yes, there are salmon and trout in the slough – lots of them. But, they are mostly babies that use the low gradient habitat for resting, feeding, and rearing for the year they’ll live in the river, or while on their way out to the ocean.

We know that baby salmon from throughout the Columbia Basin - for example, the upper Yakima River - use the slough during their trip downstream to the ocean. That’s why the slough is such an important asset in the Columbia estuary, and to all of the Pacific northwest.

Check out our "Salmon in Portland" webpage for lots more information:

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