While the Tryon Creek watershed has high habitat quality, there are several physical barriers to fish passage throughout the watershed that prevent native fish from thriving. Tryon Creek Watershed Council advocates for removal of these fish passage barriers. Many culverts within the watershed are difficult or impossible for fish to pass through. In 2014, Tryon Creek Watershed Council led a project to remove the Stone Bridge culvert, a fish passage barrier located within the Tryon Creek State Natural Area and replaced it with the Nettle Creek Bridge. Many culverts remain throughout the watershed. Three strategic barriers to a thriving native fish population are Boones Ferry Road culvert, 4th Avenue culvert and Highway 43 culvert.
Nettle Creek Bridge
Before and After!
Boones Ferry Culvert
The small, aging culvert is an obstacle to water flow and fish and wildlife passage. This exciting project was achieved during 2020 and early 2021 after many years of planning and advocacy. Learn more at the BES project page, or watch a video below that talks about the impetus for the project and expected results.
TCWC was lucky to be in the loop as this project moved forward, and have been eager to support the establishment of native plants on-site. We were able to go on a project walk-through during construction (here) in November 2021, held a community planting with Friends of Tryon Creek and OPRD (here) upon project completion in May 2022, and 1 year post-project were able to tour the project with BES and provide additional restoration through Cascade Education Corps (here) – photos from all of these are in the slideshow below!
4th Avenue/East Fork Culvert
Tryon Creek Watershed Council is working towards the removal of this barrier at the edge of the Tryon Creek State Natural Area.
Highway 43 Culvert
The Highway 43 culvert blocks fish passage about a quarter mile upstream from Tryon Creek’s confluence with the Willamette River. Efforts have been underway for over two decades to replace this culvert, a complicated and expensive project. Despite this culvert restricting fish access to the watershed, the Tryon Creek watershed supports a healthy coastal cutthroat trout population, and the lower portion of the creek below the Hwy 43 culvert is a cool water refuge for native fish off the Willamette River, including Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and Steelhead trout.
Tryon Creek Watershed Culvert Assessment Project poster
By PCC GIS student Andrew Sheehan. Click to view larger.