With the pipeline removed from the Lower Hood River's Powerdale corridor, the Land Trust is restoring the area's historic floodplain
On the Lower Hood River, just a few miles south of the city of Hood River, Oregon, we’ve just completed another important phase of a multi-year floodplain restoration effort. Our goal is to reconnect the main stem Hood River to floodplain habitat that was cut off from the river nearly 100 years ago by infrastructure associated with the Powerdale Hydroelectric Project. The Powerdale Dam, decommissioned in 2010, diverted water into a pipeline that carried water four miles down to a powerhouse. In 2014, Columbia Land Trust worked with contractors to remove half a mile of 10-foot-diameter steel pipeline from the project site.
With the pipeline out of the way, we moved to the next phase of our restoration plan this summer. We removed approximately 600 linear feet of levee from three different locations along the river bank, which amounted to 2,500 cubic yards of fill removed. We also placed 100 logs and whole trees in the floodplain, creating log jam structures that will slow flood waters and provide refuge habitat for juvenile fish during flood flows. All told, restoration efforts on this project will provide spawning and rearing habitat for fall Chinook, coho, and steelhead, in addition to rearing and migration habitat for spring Chinook.
This project is being implemented in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Fisheries Program (CTWS), which is providing project design and project funding through Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
The next phase of the project will involve planting native riparian plants to re-vegetate the floodplain. We’ll begin grass and forb seedings and tree and shrub plantings this fall and continue next spring. Stayed tuned for future project updates, and follow this stretch of river’s amazing transformation.