The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on a request to exempt from fish passage requirements a culvert maintenance project on Tumala Mountain Rd. located near Estacada. Comments are due by Sept. 20, 2012.

Clackamas County has proposed to “slip line” an existing 36-inch diameter culvert conveying South Fork Wade Creek. “Slip lining” is a process that inserts a new sleeve inside of an existing culvert to prolong the culvert’s lifespan. This proposed action triggers ODFW’s fish passage requirements.

Historically, South Fork Wade Creek, a tributary of Wade Creek which in turn is a tributary of the Clackamas River, provided habitat for native migratory fish species such as cutthroat trout, winter steelhead, coho and lamprey. Currently only isolated populations of cutthroat trout persist in South Fork Wade Creek and the half mile of habitat upstream of the Tumala Mountain Rd. culvert.

According to Ken Loffink, ODFW assistant Fish Passage Program coordinator, ODFW may grant the exemption if there is no appreciable benefit to fish from providing passage. At the Tumala Mountain Rd. culvert site, privately owned ponds immediately adjacent to the culvert block the movement of native migratory fish. Because of these site conditions, Loffink said ODFW has made an initial determination that even if fish passage was provided at the Tumala Mountain Rd. culvert, the action would not result in an appreciable benefit to native migratory fish.

Therefore, unless the Department receives public comment that would affect its determination, the exemption request will be approved.

In the meantime, members of the public will have until Sept. 20, 2012 to submit written comments on the proposed plan. The fish passage exemption application and the Department’s benefit analysis are available at

Members of the public can send written comments to or request additional information from Ken Loffink, ODFW Assistant Fish Passage Program Coordinator, 3406 NE Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303, e-mail,, or by calling (503) 947-6256.

Logo courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

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One thought on “Oregons’s ODFW Seeks Comment on Fish Passage Exemption for South Fork Wade Creek

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