Oregon

Cleveland Creek

Preserving a cold-water refuge on the Oregon coast

During the hot summer months, salmon and steelhead that migrate up the Siuslaw River (shown here) seek refuge in the cold waters of Cleveland Creek. Photo by Brandi Bartlett.
During the hot summer months, salmon and steelhead that migrate up the Siuslaw River (shown here) seek refuge in the cold waters of Cleveland Creek. Photo by Brandi Bartlett.

The Siuslaw National Forest is a beautiful area of forested mountains located in Oregon's Coast Range. The headwaters of numerous streams accumulate here before tumbling down toward the Pacific Ocean. Historically, the streams that drain Oregon's mid-coastal mountains contained very strong populations of salmon and steelhead. Decades of logging forested slopes and clearing river bottoms for pastureland have degraded the once robust runs of salmon and steelhead. Oregon coastal coho salmon have been federally listed as "Threatened," and both the winter steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout are federal "Candidates."

Despite the declining salmon and steelhead runs in Oregon's coastal rivers, some streams in the Siuslaw basin continue to maintain viable populations. In partnership with the Siuslaw National Forest and private landowners, Western Rivers Conservancy conserved two of the best reaches of currently strong salmon and steelhead streams remaining in the Siuslaw National Forest's Watershed Restoration Demonstration Area: Cleveland Creek.

The 365-acre property along Cleveland Creek, provides critical, cold-water refugia to main stem Siuslaw salmon and steelhead during summer months when water temperatures approach lethal conditions. In summer 2003, both properties were conveyed to the Siuslaw National Forest. Together, these acquisitions bring real hope to the recovery of coastal coho stocks and the long-term health of the mid-Coast's salmon and steelhead.

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