Spring Creek Dam Fish Passage and Habitat Design

Salmonid Restoration Planning and Assessments

Restoration Planning And Coordination
Project ID21-Yaka-05
Recovery DomainsLower Columbia River
Start Date10/01/2023
End Date06/30/2025
Last Edited06/04/2024
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Spring Creek flows into the White Salmon River 6.75 miles upstream from its confluence with the Columbia River. Spring Creek provides habitat for Mid-Columbia Steelhead, Mid-Columbia Spring Chinook, and Lower Columbia Coho. Spring Creek is one of the four primary tributaries in the watershed used by anadromous fish. It is a perennial, spring-fed tributary that provides year-round cool, clean, high-quality fish habitat. The relatively stable spring-fed hydrology provides refuge during winter and spring high-flow conditions and consistently cool tributary refuge in the summer. The area around the Spring Creek confluence with the White Salmon River represents some of the highest quality habitat in the basin. This area is uniquely undeveloped and characterized by dense forest, with topography and tree canopies that shade the mainstem and has the most suitable substrate types for mainstem-spawning chinook. An earthen dam (the Lower Spring Creek Dam) presents a 100% barrier to fish passage 0.66 miles upstream from the confluence with the White Salmon River.

A conceptual design to open fish passage past this dam was completed in 2021 with a Salmon Recovery Funding Board grant, including topographic survey, geology, hydrology, geomorphology, land use history, fish use, and an alternatives analysis. In late 2021, the property sold to a different landowner. Discussions with the new landowner have been ongoing since that time period and the new landowners have indicated a willingness to engage on providing fish passage, but would like to revisit the alternatives and be involved in the initial decisions in the design process. This grant would fund a reconsideration of the design alternatives, and advancement of a selected alternative to the 60% or permit-ready design phase.

Providing fish passage at this dam will open ~1.25 of anadromous habitat and up to 3.0 miles of habitat for resident rainbow and coastal cutthroat trout. This project will address the most significant remaining fish passage barrier in the lower White Salmon River Basin based on a fish passage inventory completed in 2011 (Underwood Conservation District, UCD).

Worksite #1 Proposed Work:

The Spring Creek Dam is located on private property in Husum, WA. We propose to build off the conceptual design completed in 2021 by revisiting the design alternatives with the new landowner, select an alternative, and develop it into a 60% design. The design will refine cost estimates, quantities of construction materials, permits needed and initiate dialogue with permitting agencies. The project will include hiring a design firm, advancing the design to 60% and meeting with permitting agencies. We expect to complete the contracting, design, and permitting work in 2024-2026.

Project Benefit    

This project will address PCSRF priority one – “factors limiting the productivity of Pacific anadromous salmonid populations.” Providing fish passage and allowing fish to access this blocked habitat will provide approximately 1.25 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for anadromous species and approximately 3.0 miles for resident fish species. Reconnection will increase habitat diversity and complexity within the Lower White Salmon River Basin. Spring Creek presents a uniquely valuable habitat type that is not present elsewhere in the basin (a spring-fed system). Even under a drought declaration in 2015, this tributary was measured to be fully wetted with no locations of intermittency (per DNR stream type form). Habitat made accessible post-project will be the measurable outcome and benefit.


Metric Completed Originally

Funding Details

Report Total:$130,188

Project Map


Lower Spring Creek Fish Passage    

  • Worksite Identifier: Lower Spring Creek Fish Passage
  • Start Date: 10/01/2023
  • End Date: 06/30/2026
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Middle Columbia (170701)
  • Subbasin: Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105)
  • Watershed: White Salmon River (1707010508)
  • Subwatershed: Little Buck Creek-White Salmon River (170701050811)
  • State: Washington
  • Recovery Domain: Lower Columbia River
  • Latitude: 45.8046132
  • Longitude: -121.4980095


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




  • B.0 Salmonid Restoration Planning and AssessmentsY (Y/N)
    •      . . B.0.a Planning And Assessment Funding .00
    •      . . B.0.b.1 Area Encompassed
    •      . . B.0.b.2 Stream Miles Affected
    •      . . B.1 Restoration Planning And CoordinationY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . B.1.a Planning and Coordination funding
      •      . . . . B.1.b.11 Engineering/design work for restoration projectsY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . B.1.b.11.a
          Name of plan implemented
        •      . . . . . . B.1.b.11.b
          Description and scope of the plan implemented