In the fall of 2013 a broad coalition of partners and funders celebrated the completion of the Farmer Creek Culvert Replacement Project in Oregon’s Nestucca River watershed. Led by the local Nestucca-Neskowin Watershed Council, the partners in the project include the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Tillamook County, US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, The Orvis Company and Trout Unlimited.
The Farmer Creek project reconnects 7.3 miles of high-quality spawning and rearing habitat for winter steelhead, fall chinook, coho, coastal cutthroat trout, and chum salmon to the lower mainstem Nestucca River by replacing a failed and undersized culvert with a full-span concrete bridge. The culvert , already a barrier to fish passage during most flows due to its perched outflow and small diameter, largely collapsed a couple of winters ago, leaving sharp rusty metal edges exposed to the few fish who still tried to pass through. A temporary bridge handled car traffic over the creek, but fish passage remained almost completely blocked.
Because the Farmer Creek road needed to handle residential and large truck traffic AND large numbers of fish, the price tag to replace the culvert was a hefty one. The local Tillamook County Public Works Dept needed help, and that where the coalition of partners stepped in. After a couple of years of hard work, the NNWC , Tillamook County, USFS, USFWS and TU secured funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Ecotrust Whole Watershed Initiative, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and The Orvis Company to get the project underway. Local residents played a huge role as well, providing access for engineers and designers and eventually workers and equipment as construction commenced in summer 2013.
Farmer Creek stands as a statement to what people can do together for fish and for people when they set their minds to it. Without the broad coalition of partners the Farmer Creek Project would not have been possible. With that coalition, the partners are looking forward to what projects they can do next. TU extends its sincere thanks to Alex Sifford and the Nestucca-Neskowin Watershed Council for the local project leadership, the residents of Farmer Creek and Tillamook County for their patience and willingness to work with us, and all the other partners and funders that made the project possible: Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Ecotrust, Tillamook County Public Works, the US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Orvis Company.