This week at the La Grande Rotary, Alan Childs, of the CTUIR Fisheries, gave a presentation about the history of the Columbia River drainage system how humans have altered the fish productivity with removal of beavers, use of logging dams, canneries, channelization of rivers, and construction of dams. To mitigate these problems, the US Congress passed laws to improve lost habitat and put some species of fish on the endangered or threatened list.
Locally, the State, Bonneville Power Authority, tribes, and agricultural groups have been working together through the Grande Ronde Model Watershed to meet all needs of the river system. Project Manager, Alan, and the tribes are working on initiatives that restore habitats, increase wetlands, and enhance fish passage. Recent restoration work on the upper Grande Ronde near the gun club has improved river conditions by increasing pool habitat in the area by 300%, increasing water storage and lifting water tables, decreasing the water temperatures, and improving riparian vegetation and tree growth as water floods the original flood plain.
For more information about the work of the CTUIR and fisheries see: https://ctuir.org/departments/natural-resources/fisheries/