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ODFW seeks comment on fish passage exemption

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) seeks public comment on a request to exempt from fish passage requirements a proposed culvert replacement project situated on US Forest Service Road (FS Rd# 8376) culvert which crosses the headwaters of Clarence Creek a direct tributary to Nestucca River in Tillamook County. Comments are due by October 9, 2020.

The Forest Service proposes to replace an existing culvert at a location where the road prism and existing culvert create an upstream impoundment in Clarence Creek. Providing a fish passage design compliant culvert at this location, while feasible would permanently eliminate the higher quality rearing cutthroat trout habitat in the impoundment created by and upstream of the existing culvert and road prism.

The culvert replacement action has triggered the state’s fish passage requirements. According to Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program coordinator, ODFW may grant fish passage exemptions if there are no benefits to native migratory fish from providing passage. Because of the site constraints and the cutthroat trout habitat created by the impoundment upstream of existing road and culvert, ODFW has made an initial determination that if fish passage was provided the action would result in no net benefit and even a negative impact to cutthroat trout through the permanent loss of the rearing habitat. If in the future, conditions change from which a decision is made, fish passage exemptions can be revoked and fish passage shall be addressed.

Therefore, unless public comment is provided that would affect the Department’s determination, the exemption request will be approved.

In the meantime, members of the public will have until October 9, 2020 to submit written comments on the proposed plan. The fish passage exemption application and the Department’s benefit analyses are available at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/passage/.

Members of the public can send written comments to or request additional information from Greg Apke, ODFW Fish Passage Program leader, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr SE, Salem, OR 97303, e-mail, Greg.D.Apke@state.or.us, or by calling (503) 947-6228.