ODFW seeks comment on fish passage exemption

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is seeking public comment on a request to exempt from fish passage requirements an existing water diversion dam situated southeast of Madras Oregon on Newbill Creek a tributary to Willow Creek, a tributary to the Deschutes River in Jefferson County. Comments are due by September 25, 2020.

Mr. Kelly Bruun, proposes to increase the water storage capacity of an existing instream water diversion reservoir on Newbill Creek. The request for increased water storage capacity in this reservoir 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 specific habitat conditions and other complete artificial obstructions proximal to the project location, ODFW has made an initial determination that even if fish passage was provided, the action would still result in no net benefit to native migratory fish. If in the future, conditions change from which the decision was 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 September 25, 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.