Tag Archives: winter lake unit

Coquille Valley Restoration Work Wraps Up, Win For Fish, Farmers

THE FOLLOWING IS A NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE STORY

Partners representing natural resource, tribal, and agricultural stakeholders recently gathered in the Coquille River Valley in Oregon to celebrate the completion of the Winter Lake restoration project that will help ensure local cattle farmers continue to thrive, while providing almost 8 miles of tidal channels and 1,700 acres of habitat for the threatened Oregon Coast coho salmon, and other fish and wildlife.

AN AERIAL IMAGE SHOWS NEW CHANNELS FOR FISH HABITAT CREATED AT WINTER LAKE, PART OF THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE’S COQUILLE VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA. (CBI CONTRACTING VIA NMFS)

Habitat restoration and agriculture are often considered competing interests. This partnership between natural resource entities and agricultural landowners demonstrates that the two can benefit from a strategically planned project.

Lowlands in and around the Valley’s Beaver Slough Drainage District are rich pasture for cattle, and are in high demand. In the past, levees were built, channels straightened, and acres of wetlands were filled to create agricultural land.

A SIGN PUT UP FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT DECLARES “WE GROW BEEF IN THE SUMMER AND FISH IN THE WINTER.” ACCORDING TO NMFS, THE LAND WHERE THESE CATTLE GRAZE WILL BECOME FISH HABITAT LATER IN THE YEAR. (NMFS)

But the tidal gates managing water and helping keep the land dry for grazing started failing recently and had to be replaced. The Drainage District saw this opportunity to establish a new partnership to reimagine how water is managed there.

Their vision of ‘working landscapes’ was to improve water control and protect the land from flooding during prime grazing season in the warmer months, and rebuild high-quality habitat for juvenile coho salmon in the winter.

The project’s cornerstone is a set of new state-of-the-art tide gates that can better control flooding, allowing for seasonal use by agriculture, and fish and wildlife. The tide gates, working with reconnected channels and new habitat will provide the best of both worlds.

THE PROJECT INCLUDES NEW TIDE GATES TO IMPROVE THE FLOW OF WATER. (BCI CONTRACTING VIA NMFS)

NOAA helped Beaver Slough Drainage District, the Nature Conservancy, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and nearby land owner China Creek Gun Club develop plans for this comprehensive project, and supported it further with restoration and resilience grants totalling $2.7 million.

It is expected that the project could generate up to $3.4 million and 25 new jobs in the regional economy, and could then contribute an additional $3.2 million due to increased outdoor recreation spending over a twenty year period.

Along the Pacific Northwest coast wild salmon populations continue to decline. Like many northwestern rivers, the Coquille has lost much of its estuary habitat; nearly 95 percent of prime salmon spawning and rearing waters there are gone.

Habitat restoration through innovative public-private partnership projects like this are the key to success, and eventually will assist in the recovery of salmon and other fish species critical to this region’s ecosystems and communities.

Coquille Valley Wildlife Area Reopening To Hunting Nov. 10 After Fish Passage Work

THE FOLLOWING IS APRESS RLEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Coquille Valley Wildlife Area (CVWA) reopens to public use on Friday, November 10. The area has been closed since May for tide gate construction and habitat restoration work.

THE SUN BREAKS THROUGH FOG OVER WINTER LAKE, PART OF THE COQUILE VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA. (PEGGY NELSON, ODOT)

Both hunters and other recreationists must possess a free hunting/access permit available at a self-check station in the parking lot along North Bank Lane. From Highway 42 in Coquille, turn onto North Bank Lane and the parking area is about a half mile on the right.

The 610-acre wildlife area is divided into the Beaver Slough and Winter Lake tracts which are accessed from a single access point at the North Bank Lane parking area. Visitors who want to use the Winter Lake tract can walk south on berms to access that area, and those who want to access Beaver Slough can walk or use a boat (that is not powered with a gasoline engine) to go north into that tract.

The Winter Lake tract is open to public use on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays and State holidays. Beaver Slough tract is open seven days a week.

CVWA is open to game bird and waterfowl hunting, depending on when seasons are open. Check the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for specific seasons, species and shooting hours.

The wildlife area provides crucial habitat for migrating and nesting waterfowl, Oregon’s native fish, and many Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. Wildlife watchers can hike in or use kayaks or paddle boats but must stay on the wildlife area property.

This past summer, new tide gates were installed in the Coquille Basin as part of the China Camp Creek Project, benefiting both fish passage and agriculture and providing opportunities to improve habitats on CVWA. Berms and canals were reconstructed to meet current fish passage criteria.