Vincent to Vinegar Fish Habitat Improvement

Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Acquisition

Instream Habitat Riparian Habitat
Project ID20-Warm-02
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date03/01/2021
End Date12/31/2022
Last Edited04/08/2022
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Host to both mid-Columbia spring Chinook and ESA-listed summer steelhead, the Middle Fork John Day River is considered critical habitat for juvenile and adult anadromous salmonids. Land use practices there have led to widespread loss of riparian and floodplain vegetation, and natural regeneration of plants has proven difficult due to the high levels of browse by wild ungulates. Collectively, this has resulted in rising water temperatures in the Middle Fork that verge on the upper thermal tolerances of Chinook and steelhead, and these poor water quality conditions will only be exacerbated with climate change.

The primary limiting factors for Chinook and steelhead in the Middle Fork John Day River are degraded water quality and degraded channel/riparian conditions. High water temperature is a widespread concern throughout the John Day River basin, especially in the main stem of the Middle Fork. Situated in a valley bottom, this project reach was historically relocated resulting in an immediate loss of riparian vegetation and sinuosity. The lack of sinuosity coupled with the presence of a railroad grade has almost entirely disconnected the river from its floodplain. When groundwater is unable to sufficiently recharge, this leads to reduced cold-water inputs, which are immensely important to fish in hot summer months. Additionally, the lack of shading riparian vegetation present along this reach leaves the river exposed to high solar inputs, causing water temperatures to rise. The historic river relocation also resulted in a reduced fish habitat complexity. Currently, this project reach is characterized as being relatively straight with few meanders and little variation in habitat.

The Vinegar to Vincent Fish Habitat Improvement project was born out of the need to address these primary limiting factors and legacy effects. Funding from concurrent sources will perform instream work on this stream reach (removal of the railroad grade and excavation/reactivation of historic main and side channels, installation of large wood structures for cover and shade). This project will perform habitat treatments in the riparian area around this reach. The project area will be protected by 2.17 miles of wildlife fencing, enclosing roughly 103 acres of riparian and transitional/upland habitat. Riparian plantings will be performed along 2.5 miles of stream bank.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will monitor these restoration features throughout the coming years to ensure that all project objectives are met and limiting factors sufficiently addressed. Specifically, CTWS has and will continue to conduct fish, vegetation, and habitat surveys pre- and post-project. A series of well monitoring stations are also present within this project area and will allow us to identify changes in groundwater levels.

Project Benefit    

With the current state of salmon and steelhead in the John Day River and the broader mid-Columbia River basin, restoration projects of this scale are increasingly necessary to preserve these populations of fish. Federal, non-profit, and state agencies across the basin have and continue to allocate time and resources to restoring the Middle Fork John Day. Much of this work has focused on the tributaries, which are highly important, especially for adult steelhead and rearing of all salmonid species. Yet, our data show that juveniles also spend much of their time in the main stem of the Middle Fork, highlighting the importance of its restoration. This work is vital in order to improve fish habitat and water quality within the watershed and will prove to be even more crucial in the face of a changing climate.


Metric Completed Originally
Instream Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated 2.50
Riparian Habitat
  Stream Miles Treated 2.50
  Acres Treated 103.5

Funding Details

Report Total:$175,000

Project Map


Middle Fork John Day River, Forrest Conservation Area    

  • Worksite Identifier: Middle Fork John Day River, Forrest Conservation Area
  • Start Date: 02/01/2021
  • End Date: 12/31/2023
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: John Day
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Oregon
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 44.607464
  • Longitude: -118.5465574


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




  • C.0 Salmonid Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionY (Y/N)
    •      . . C.0.a Habitat restoration and acquisition funding .00
    •      . . C.0.b Length of stream treated/protected
    •      . . C.0.c
      Project identified in a Plan or Watershed Assessment
    •      . . C.0.d.1 Project Monitoring (LOV)
    •      . . C.0.d.2 Monitoring Location (LOV)
    •      . . C.4 Instream Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . C.4.a Instream Habitat Funding
      •      . . . . C.4.b Total length of instream habitat treated
      •      . . . . 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
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.4 Miles of off-channel stream created through channel reconfiguration and connectivity
        •      . . . . . . C.4.c.6 Instream pools created/added through channel reconfiguration and connectivity
      •      . . . . 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
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.5 Pools expected to be created through channel structure placement
        •      . . . . . . C.4.d.7 Number of structures placed in channel
      •      . . C.5 Riparian Habitat ProjectY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . C.5.a Riparian Habitat Funding
        •      . . . . C.5.b.1 Total riparian miles streambank treated
        •      . . . . C.5.b.2 Total Riparian Acres Treated
        •      . . . . C.5.c.1 Riparian plantingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.2
            Species of plants planted in riparian
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.3 Acres planted in riparian
          •      . . . . . . C.5.c.4 Miles of streambank treated with riparian planting
        •      . . . . C.5.d.1 FencingY (Y/N)
          •      . . . . . . C.5.d.2 Miles of fence along stream
          •      . . . . . . C.5.d.3 Acres of riparian area protected by fencing