Johnson Creek Watershed Council Success in North Fork of Johnson Creek

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) developed the North Fork Open Migration project conceived as a multi-partner collaboration aimed at eliminating all seven barriers to fish passage in the North Fork of Johnson Creek, near Gresham Oregon. The JCWC worked with a variety of entities to remove, replace and/or repair culverts that were a barrier to fish passage.

In 2018, JCWC made history becoming the first practitioner in North America to utilize the Flexi Baffle culvert retrofit technology to improve fish passage through culverts that are not planned to be replaced. The Flexi Baffle, developed by ATS Environmental from New Zealand creates step pools in a culvert to improve fish passage. Water velocities are reduced, and water depth increased, all to improve fish passage. ATS began working with their partner SSA Environmental to bring their unique fish passage technologies to North America. Since that time, JCWC has installed Flexi Baffles in two additional culverts.

This story describes the work and success of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council in improving fish passage.

Students at Work!

Another successful Flexi Baffle installation. We worked with the City of Surrey, B.C. and students with the Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) to implement the largest culvert rehabilitation project in North America. A large concrete flume on the Bon Accord Creek, a tributary of the lower Fraser River, has blocked salmon from accessing important salmon spawning habitat for many decades. We worked with City staff to develop a Flexi Baffle installation plan to increase water depth and slow water velocity to create conditions much more conducive to salmon passage.

Bon Accord Creek before Flexi Baffle Installation

SSA Environmental staff then worked to train SHaRP students and project managers to install Flexi Baffles at predetermined intervals through the flume. Students isolated the project area with barrier nets. They then installed Flexi Baffles using concrete drills and wedge anchors.

Students encountered masses of blackberry briars and tough access conditions, but they persevered. And the results speak for themselves!

Students will now monitor fish passage this fall as salmon begin their spawning migration.

Here are the Flexi Baffles after a significant rain event. Note the resting areas between each Flexi Baffle.
Note resting bools between each Flexi Baffle.
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