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Feds to try boosting Crooked River flow to help steelhead


Next week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, will release additional water from Bowman Dam on the Crooked River to see if higher flows will help steelhead smolts migrating downstream to Lake Billy Chinook.

Next Monday evening,, flows will increase through the night to reach a total flow of roughly 768 cubic feet per second, an increase of 500 cfs. Flows will decrease the evening of May 18 and return to their current 268 cfs level by the morning of Friday, May 20.

These experimental “pulse flows” are being timed to minimize the effects to anglers fishing the Crooked River, officials said Thursday.

While the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife anticipates no negative impacts to redband trout populations below Bowman Dam, “fishing will be difficult and is unadvised during the pulse flow event,” the announcement said.

“This is a great example of cooperation between local, state and federal agencies and will support the ongoing effort to restore the steelhead population in the Crooked River,” says Bridget Moran, manager for the Bend U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office.

Many organizations have partnered in this experimental pulse flow event, including the Ochoco Irrigation District, ODFW and Portland General Electric.

For more information about this research, contact NOAA Fisheries at (503) 231-6268 or the USFWS Bend Field Office at (541) 383-7146.

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