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Coho salmon were spotted spawning in Southeast Portland’s Crystal Springs Creek this fall for the first time in decades, after a series of habitat restoration projects.


Portland Bureau of Environmental Services fish biologist Melissa Brown captured underwater video footage of a pair of wild coho spawning upstream from a recent culvert removal site. The video can be viewed at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/66158.

The Portland City Council directed the bureau to lead the city’s salmon recovery efforts in 1998, after the federal government listed Portland salmon and steelhead as threatened species. Since then, BES has worked with several partners to remove seven culverts on Crystal Springs Creek.

“This work has allowed wild salmon to return to the city for the first time in a generation,” said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. “Crystal Springs Creek has Portland’s best fish habitat but it’s been inaccessible to salmon for 40 years, until now.”

Crystal Springs is naturally cool and its year-round flow provides ideal salmon and steelhead habitat. It’s a tributary of Johnson Creek, another river traversing Southeast Portland, where restoration efforts also have produced gains for salmon recovery.

Other agencies and entities working on Crystal Springs Creek habitat improvements are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Metro, NOAA-Fisheries, the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Reed College and TriMet

Two more culvert-removal projects are scheduled for 2015.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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