Stearns Dam on the Crooked River has been removed as part of ongoing efforts to restore steelhead trout in the Pacific Northwest. The dam removal will allow steelheads to access 12 additional miles of quality habitat that was previously inaccessible.
In 2013, NOAA Fisheries designated a population of Middle Columbia River steelhead as “experimental.” The designation will support the reintroduction of steelhead to historical spawning and rearing habitat in the upper Deschutes, helping to re-establish the population.
Spring Chinook salmon are also being reintroduced to the Deschutes, though this population is not in danger of extinction and thus not listed under the ESA.
Restoring fish passage in the Crooked River was ten years in the making. The dam’s removal is the result of collaboration among the Crooked River Watershed Council, NOAA’s Restoration Center, American Rivers, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the local landowner. NOAA’s Restoration Center, American Rivers, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board provided financial and technical assistance.
In 1999, Middle Columbia River steelhead was listed as a species threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
source: NOAA Fisheries