Opal Springs Fish Passage Project

A project by the Crooked River Watershed Council

This fish passage project addresses the 2nd ranked priority fish barrier in the State of Oregon. Led by the Crooked River Watershed Council, it has been an equally high priority project for the Deschutes Partnership. The project broke ground in May 2018 with initial equipment staging, site development to facilitate construction activities, and removal of the existing wooden flashboard panels to prepare for diversion height increase.

Through the end of July, construction activities featured lowering the pool behind the dam, placement of 36 articulated concrete block (ACB) mats on the bottom of the Crooked River in front of the intake to the power plant to prevent riverbed scour, setting rebar and forms over the existing sill to raise the height of the diversion, and pouring the first of many hundreds of yards of concrete to complete the new dam sill (foundation) and eventual fish ladder to be constructed in 2019. The following photos capture some of these project elements.

View up the Crooked River canyon, generally south; Opal diversion dam in lower right quadrant. Pool has been lowered and bulk bags to control water and create safe, dry working space are being placed on river left on the intake side of the diversion dam. Pre-existing dam structure has been removed to prepare for a new concrete sill as part of the pool raise. Note ACB mats in place on river bottom in front of intake.

View from river right – Bladder dam and bulk bags in place to facilitate construction of new concrete sill 18” higher than pre-existing.

View from mid-bench above project looking down the Crooked River, generally northward.  Construction staging area and offices are located at lower right. Intake to hydropower turbines is located center/left. (Note- the total canyon elevation change from bottom to top is over 800 feet.)