Oxbow Conservation Area Tailings Restoration, Phase 4

Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Acquisition

Instream Habitat Riparian Habitat
Project ID14-Warm-02
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date05/01/2015
End Date03/31/2019
Last Edited10/21/2021
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This project is part of a very large restoration effort that supports the recovery of anadromous fish (summer steelhead, spring Chinook salmon, and Pacific Lamprey) in the Middle Fork John Day River. This site was dredge-mined for gold from 1939 to 1943 across 200 acres of floodplain. The dredging resulted in loss of soils and vegetation, and it created highly altered stream channels. These channels lack a significant amount of complexity and quality aquatic habitat. Since acquisition in 2001, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have studied an approach to treat the limiting factors presented by this site. The Tribes have worked with the Bureau of Reclamation since 2005 to develop solutions for this site. Using the best available practices, this project will ultimately construct 7,500 feet of new channels and additional habitat enhancement work on existing channels. This project began construction in 2011 with phasing portions of the work. To date, four phases have been completed. Extensive tree planting, seeding, browse fencing, bio-engineering, and large wood structures are planned along the entire project. This project will restore the most degraded portion of the upper Middle Fork John Day River.

Phases 4 and 5 of this larger project involved constructing 2,900 feet of river channel, nearly 400 feet Ruby Creek channel, and about a 1,000 feet of spring channels and alcove construction. Earthwork for grading mine tailings and channel construction exceeded 120,000 cubic yards. Plants wdfd transplanted and grown on a large scale to quickly re-vegetate the site, and the site will exclude browsing from ungulates for at least five years. Planting and transplanting, dredge-tailings contouring/removal/treatment, and removal of existing channels were the main construction efforts of the project. All details listed in this proposal are specific to the remaining phases of this project. As this property has ongoing funding from Bonneville Power Administration, project maintenance will be ongoing until the site is stabilized and performing as desired. BPA funding (project #2000-015-00) and OWEB funding (project #216-6008-12116) are also contributing greatly to this project and will be reporting their accomplishments and funding through different processes and will not be reported under this project.

Using CRITFC PCSRF funds the WST treated 0.03 miles of instream habitat. 2.14 structures of anchored logs and boulders were placed in the channel. 16.65 cubic yards of spawning gravel was placed in the stream. 03 miles of riparian streambank was treated with native species. This funding also provided propagation of containerized plants which were planted along Phase 4 and Phase 5 channel segments in 2016 and 2017. .02 miles of fencing was constructed to protect 0.67 riparian acres. One Water Gap was installed for a wildlife crossing.

The goal of this project was to restore physical and biological processes on this dredge-mined property to benefit summer steelhead and spring Chinook salmon.

Project Benefit    

The project seeks to restore hydraulic and ecosystem processes for riparian and instream habitats critical for Mid-Columbia summer steelhead, spring Chinook salmon, Pacific Lamprey, and bull trout. This multi-phased project is located in the heart of spring Chinook salmon spawning, adult holding, and juvenile rearing. The property averaged 13% of spring Chinook salmon spawning in this critical habitat zone of the MFJD watershed, but since Phase 1 has been completed in 2011, Chinook spawning on the property has increased to and average 23.4% of the river total. This property is used by steelhead for both juvenile rearing and spawning in the river and five perennial tributaries within the property boundaries. The property has exceptional juvenile rearing potential, stemming from its location in the watershed and the six perennial tributaries entering the river within the property, but degraded habitat conditions limit current production. The Phase 5 Project restores connectivity to the river on Ruby Creek with channel construction and habitat enhancement of the lower 400-500 feet of the creek. Pacific lamprey juveniles are also commonly present in the river and tributaries throughout this property.

The project primary goal is to restore instream habitat conditions and structure for salmonid production, and set the stage for processes needed to sustain habitat features. This project seeks to greatly enhance instream habitat for salmonids in terms of rearing habitat, as this is the main identified bottleneck in population recovery. Pools with large wood structure, complex riffles, and targeted use of cold-water alcoves and spring channels will be the features to aid in rearing habitat for salmonids. Water temperature will also be buffered through an extensive vegetation plan, which promotes stream shading and appropriate channel widths on the constructed channel segments.


Metric Completed Originally
Instream Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated .03 .12
Riparian Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated .03 .12
  Acres Treated 1.1 1.1

Funding Details

Report Total:$174,713

Project Map


Oxbow Conservation Area, near Bates, Oregon    

  • Worksite Identifier: Oxbow Conservation Area, near Bates, Oregon
  • Start Date: 05/01/2015
  • End Date: 03/31/2019
Area Description
River miles 56-­-57, on Oxbow Conservation Area

Location Information

  • Basin: John Day
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 44.644087
  • Longitude: -118.662836


  • Mid-Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS



Lower Phase 4 channel


  • C.0 Salmonid Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionY (Y/N)
    •      . . C.0.a Habitat restoration and acquisition funding 174,713.00
    •      . . C.0.b Length of stream treated/protected .03
    •      . . C.0.c
      Project identified in a Plan or Watershed Assessment
      Oxbow Forrest Conservation Areas Property Habitat Management Plan. March. Northwest Power and Conservation Council, 2005. John Day Subbasin Revised Draft Plan. (+ 3 others, see project proposal)
    •      . . C.0.d.1 Project Monitoring (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.2 Monitoring Location (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.3
      Monitoring text (from Phase I)
      Monitoring will be guided by the Monitoring and maintenance plan being developed for the ESA programmatic coverage. This M&M plan will cover physical, fish, and vegetative attributes of the project for as---built, year 1 and post high--- flow event. The plan will also have standards which will need to be met or maintained, requiring maintenance to those standards not met. Some monitoring in this plan includes water temperature, juvenile salmonid and other fish usage (assemblages) snorkeling counts, riparian vegetation transects, photo points, spawning survey data, groundwater (wells onsite), and physical monitoring (width---depth ratios, pool depth, etc.). The Middle Fork John Day Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) program will also be collecting geomorphology study related efforts, channel dimensions, hyporheic temperature exchange (fiber optic cable deployment), PIBO habitat survey protocols, macroinvertebrates monitoring, and other effectiveness monitoring relating to fish populations within the watershed. The IMW monitoring may or may not measure project specific effects.
    •      . . C.4 Instream Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . C.4.a Instream Habitat Funding 130,296.00
      •      . . . . C.4.b Total length of instream habitat treated .03
      •      . . . . C.4.c.1 Channel reconfiguration and connectivityY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.2 Type of change to channel configuration and connectivity (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.3 Miles of stream treated for channel reconfiguration and connectivity .01
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.4 Miles of off-channel stream created through channel reconfiguration and connectivity .01
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.5 Acres of off-channel or floodplain connected through channel reconfiguration and connectivity .4
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.6 Instream pools created/added through channel reconfiguration and connectivity 1
      •      . . . . C.4.d.1 Channel structure placementY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.2 Material used for channel structure (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.3 Miles of stream treated through channel structure placement .01
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.4 Acres of streambed treated through channel structure placement .0
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.5 Pools expected to be created through channel structure placement 1
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.6 Yards of average stream-width at mid-point of channel structure placement project1 (Yards)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.7 Number of structures placed in channel 2
      •      . . . . C.4.f.1 Spawning gravel placementY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . C.4.f.2 Miles of stream treated with addition of spawning gravel .01
        •      . . . . . . C.4.f.3 Cubic yards of spawning gravel placed17 (Cubic yards)
      •      . . C.5 Riparian Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . C.5.a Riparian Habitat Funding 44,417.00
        •      . . . . C.5.b.1 Total riparian miles streambank treated .03
        •      . . . . C.5.b.2 Total Riparian Acres Treated 1.1
        •      . . . . C.5.c.1 Riparian plantingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.2
            Species of plants planted in riparian
            Alnus rhombifolia, Carex nudata, Cornus sericea, Crataegus douglasii, Pinus ponderosa, Populus trichocarpa, Prunus emarginata, Ribes aureum, Rosa nutkana, Salix lemmonii, S. exigua, S. Geyeriana, , Sambucus nigra, , etc. plus native grass seeding to include: Achnatherum occidentale, Bromus marginatus, Deschampsia elongata, Elymus elymoides, E. glaucous, Festuca idahoensis, Glyceria striata, Koeleria macrantha, Leymus cinereus, Poa secunda, and Pseudoroegneria spicata
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.3 Acres planted in riparian 1.0
        •      . . . . C.5.d.1 FencingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.d.2 Miles of fence along stream .02
        •      . . . . C.5.f.1 Water gap developmentY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.f.2 Number of water gap installations 1