Blue Sky Habitat Fund

Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Habitat Fund provides residential and small business customers with the ability to make a difference in two meaningful ways. With this option, participating customers purchase and support renewable energy, while also helping to restore and preserve habitats for Oregon native fish, including salmon, through an automatic $2.50 monthly donation.

The $2.50 donations are given to The Freshwater Trust to administer multiple grants that restore habitat in Pacific Power’s service area. We coordinate use of Blue Sky customer funds and match their donations with grant dollars, creating an even bigger positive impact for our communities.

2020 Recipients

Upper Sandy Habitat Restoration Project - The Freshwater Trust

Sandy River, Clackamas County, Oregon

The Freshwater Trust seeks to restore aquatic habitat in the Salmon River near Zigzag, Oregon. The proposed project is part of a collaborative, multi-year effort to accelerate recovery of naturally-functioning conditions within prioritized stream channels and riparian areas of the Sandy River basin. The overall goal is to benefit Sandy basin salmon and steelhead by restoring natural stream processes so that high quality habitat is self-sustaining over time. Specific project actions for 2020/2021 include: placement of large wood (54 pieces on the Salmon River, 200 pieces on Boulder Creek and 265 pieces on Clear Fork) and adding side channels and reconnecting floodplains (3 side channels totaling 1,000 feet on Boulder Creek, and 1 side channel totaling 200 feet and 8.5 acres of floodplain reconnection on Clear Fork).

Native fish benefited: Coho - adult spawning and juvenile rearing; Spring Chinook - adult spawning and juvenile rearing; Winter steelhead - adult spawning and juvenile rearing

Neal Creek Instream Habitat Restoration Project - Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District

Hood River, Hood River County, Oregon

Neal Creek is one of the few clear water (non-glacial) tributaries of the lower Hood River and contains a viable population of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed winter steelhead, Coho salmon, and resident rainbow trout. This project aims to restore the ecological processes of the Neal Creek Watershed, ensure the health and viability of ESA-listed salmonid populations in Neal Creek, and improve spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitat for these populations. Restoration approaches will include side channel and floodplain reconnection, log jam installations, and pool enhancement. The aim is to create habitat features that optimize the sustained survival of threatened fish species by emulating naturally created habitat features.

Native fish benefited: Lower Columbia River – Winter Steelhead (spawning and juvenile rearing); Lower Columbia River – Coho Salmon (spawning and juvenile rearing)

Bear Creek Riparian Restoration Initiative - Phase 1 - Rogue River Watershed Council and Rogue Valley Council of Governments

Bear Creek – Rogue River, Jackson, Oregon

The Bear Creek Watershed, located in Jackson County, is the most urbanized watershed in Southern Oregon. Despite this, the watershed is used for spawning, rearing, and migration by salmon and steelhead. This unique collaborative project will improve water quality along 1.0 mile of Bear Creek at two locations that will include clearing invasive species and establishing native plants. The Bear Creek Greenway, a 20-mile, paved, multi-use trail along which the projects are located, provides the opportunity for the public to view wildlife and learn about stream restoration and riparian stewardship.

Native fish benefited: Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) – Coho Salmon (spawning and juvenile rearing)

Lower Hamilton Creek Riparian Restoration Project - South Santiam Watershed Council

Hamilton Creek, Linn County, Oregon

Hamilton Creek is a perennial tributary of the South Santiam used by Upper Willamette winter steelhead and spring Chinook for winter refuge and rearing, and by winter steelhead for spawning. Riparian restoration activities proposed for this project will build on the successes of previous work across 17 acres of riparian area and along 1.3 miles of lower Hamilton Creek to directly address key limiting factors to salmonid recovery in the South Santiam and provide a whole host of fish, wildlife and human benefits. Project activities include planting, plant establishment and quantitative monitoring to ensure the project is on track to meeting long-term objectives. Project benefits will be derived through establishment of a self-sustaining native riparian forest that shades the creek; buffers nonpoint source pollutants generated by run-off from surrounding land use activities; and provides terrestrial inputs to the channel that make up the base of the in-stream food web, provides in-stream structure for formation of off-channel salmonid rearing opportunities and provides additional temperature benefits with increase hyporheic flow.

Native fish benefited: Upper Willamette spring Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) – rearing and migrating juveniles (parr, smolt); Upper Willamette winter steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) - rearing and migrating juveniles (parr, smolt); migrating adults

Upper Wallowa River Restoration – Wallowa Resources

Upper Wallowa River, Grande Ronde, Wallowa County, Oregon

This project seeks to repair damage from historical dredging and channelization of the Upper Wallowa River by enhancing and restoring habitat for all life stages of kokanee salmon and bull trout, and spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead, and by enhancing floodplain form and function. The Upper Wallowa River originates in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and passes through a developed area of private and state property before reaching the south end of Wallowa Lake. Funded and scheduled upgrades to the Wallowa Lake Dam require the addition of anadromous fish passage, which involves plans by the Nez Perce Tribe to reintroduce Sockeye, which further increases the importance of this restoration effort. The project has state-wide educational significance to raise public awareness and understanding of stream restoration activities thanks to the highly-visible and highly-visited project site.

Native fish benefited: Sockeye (extirpated, but to be reintroduced with the repair of Wallowa Lake Dam) (spawning and rearing); Bull trout (non-anadromous fish species) (spawning, rearing, and fluvial migration)

Past Recipients

John Day Crossing Restoration Project – North Coast Watershed Association

John Day River, Clastop County, Oregon

The John Day Crossing Restoration Project is located on a tidal reach of an unnamed John Day River tributary that passes under North John Day River Road through two 60-inch culverts. The undersized culverts restrict natural function and are barriers to fish passage. The project removed the culverts and replaced them with a bridge and raised the low stretch of road above the 100-year flood elevation. Passage was restored to 22 acres of high-quality tidal wetlands upstream of the former culverts. Native fish benefited: Juvenile and adult Chinook, chum and coho.

Little Butte Creek Floodplain Rehabilitation Project – Rogue River Watershed Council

Rogue River, Jackson County, Oregon

The Little Butte Creek Floodplain Rehabilitation Project transformed a 48-acre parcel of land that formerly served as a wastewater treatment facility into a healthy aquatic ecosystem and community park. The north edge of the project property, owned by the City of Eagle Point, is bounded by Little Butte Creek. The riparian corridor within the project area had severely eroding streambanks and dense blackberry. This project rehabilitated 0.3 miles of Little Butte Creek and reconnected the floodplain. Native fish benefited: Adult and juvenile steelhead and potentially ESA-listed adult and juvenile coho salmon.

Upper Sandy River Basin Habitat Restoration Project – The Freshwater Trust

Sandy River, Clackamas County, Oregon

The Freshwater Trust, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management led the project on behalf of the Sandy River Basin Partners. This project addressed limiting factors for fish by increasing side-channel habitat, floodplain connectivity and large wood abundance in the Salmon River. Work included restoring year-round flow to one historic side channel, restoring two inlet side channels, enhancing two wetlands, constructing five large wood habitat structures, placing 220 boulders in the river’s mainstem and additional large wood in side channels. Native fish benefited: Spring Chinook, coho, winter steelhead, cutthroat trout, and lamprey.

South Fork Little Butte Creek Instream Habitat and Riparian Restoration Project – The Freshwater Trust

Rogue River, Jackson County, Oregon

The Freshwater Trust worked with the Bureau of Land Management and a private ranch to restore instream and riparian habitat on South Fork Little Butte Creek. The project reactivated flow to 0.35 miles of side channel and installed seven large wood structures within the side channel. The floodplain was revegetated with native plants and fencing installed to keep livestock out of the streamside areas to improve water quality. Native fish benefited: Chinook, steelhead, coho, and lamprey

The Willow Wind Riparian and Meadow Restoration Project – Lomakatsi Restoration Project

Bear Creek, Jackson County, Oregon

The project restored two acres of degraded streamside habitat at the Willow Wind Community Learning Center in Ashland by removing invasive plants and reestablishing native vegetation up to 75 feet from the streambank. With the help of hundreds of students, under the leadership of Lomakatsi restoration professionals, the project restored the site to a more natural streamside condition with a strong tree canopy and layered understory, shading the creek for anadromous fish, improving water quality, and providing a diverse, healthy riparian forest for wildlife habitat. Native fish benefited: Juvenile and adult Chinook, summer steelhead, coho, and lamprey.

Sandy River Basin Habitat Restoration Project – The Freshwater Trust

Sandy River, Clackamas County, Oregon

The Freshwater Trust, on behalf of the Sandy River Basin Partners, implemented restoration actions to increase side-channel habitat and floodplain connectivity on the Salmon River and Still Creek, including restoration of five historic side channels, construction of 28 large wood habitat structures, and placement of additional large wood in side channels and on stream margins. The goal is to benefit federally listed spring Chinook, coho and winter steelhead in the Sandy River basin by accelerating the recovery of naturally functioning conditions.

Butcherknife Creek Culvert Replacement – Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council

Applegate River, Josephine County, Oregon

The Butcherknife Creek culvert is a fish passage barrier that prohibits access to more than two miles of “high value” Coho habitat during low and moderate flows. The Slate Creek watershed is one of the last sub-watersheds in the lower Applegate not affected by residential and commercial development. Blue Sky funds helped replace the culvert with a precast bridge built to ODOT, NOAA and ODFW fish passage standards.

Beeson-Robison Fish Passage Improvement Project – Rogue River Watershed Council

Wagner Creek, Jackson County, Oregon

The Rogue River Watershed Council removed the Beeson-Robison dam to restore fish passage and improve access to three miles of upstream habitat.

Bear Creek Riparian Restoration near Upton Road – Rogue Valley Council of Governments

Bear Creek, Jackson County, Oregon

Bear Creek, one of the most urbanized watersheds in southwest Oregon, is a priority watershed for Coho salmon recovery. This multi-phased project removed invasive plants and planted native trees and shrubs along two miles of Bear Creek.

Upper Sandy River Basin Habitat Project – The Freshwater Trust

Upper Sandy River Basin

The Freshwater Trust, on behalf of the Sandy River Basin Partners, implement restoration actions on the Salmon River and Still Creek. The project supported the reactivation of flow to six historic side channels, construction of 51 large wood habitat structures, restoration of two alcoves, and placement of additional large wood in side channels and on stream margins. This work is part of a multi-year, basin-scale restoration effort. Native fish benefited: Steelhead, Chinook, coho and lamprey.

Alder Island Restoration and Visitor Access Project – Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council

Alder Island

The Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council is working with the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, MidCoast Watersheds Council, Ducks Unlimited, Confederate Tribes of the Siletz Indians, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to restore tidal estuarine wetland habitat for anadromous fisheries and other wildlife on Alder Island. The project created breaches in a levee surrounding the Alder Island Tract and included channel excavation to restore 7 acres of diked wetlands to fully functional tidal marsh on refuge lands. Native fish benefited: Chinook, coho, steelhead, sea run cutthroat, and chum.

Bear Creek Riparian Restoration Project – Lomakatsi Restoration Project

Bear Creek

This project restored degraded riparian habitat at the confluence of Lone Pine and Bear Creek by re-establishing native trees and shrubs up to 75 feet from the stream bank and removing invasive weeds. The plantings will shade the creek for anadromous fish, improving water quality and providing a diverse, healthy riparian forest habitat for wildlife habitat. Native fish benefited: Summer steelhead, fall Chinook, coho and lamprey.

Sheep Ridge Fish Passage Improvement – Grande Ronde Model Watershed

Lostine River

Co-managed by the Grande Ronde Model Watershed and the Nez Perce Tribe, the project restored year-round fish passage in the Lostine River by replacing the current fishway and diversion structure with a roughened channel. Native fish benefited: Spring Chinook and summer steelhead.

Upper Sandy River Basin Habitat Project – The Freshwater Trust

Sandy River Basin

The Freshwater Trust, US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management led the Upper Sandy River Basin Habitat Restoration Project on behalf of the Sandy River Basin Partners. The project’s goal is to benefit federally-listed spring Chinook, coho and winter steelhead in the Sandy River basin by accelerating the recovery of naturally functioning conditions within the stream channels and floodplain areas of Salmon River and Still Creek. Native species benefited include steelhead, Chinook, coho and lamprey.

Thompson Creek Habitat Restoration Project Phase 2 – Applegate Partnership and Watershed Council

Thompson Creek - Tributary of the Applegate River

The Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council restored 2.63 stream miles of the Applegate River. It is the second phase in the “Thompson Creek Habitat Restoration Project,” expanding the project’s total stream miles restored to 4.4. Thompson Creek has high potential habitat for coho salmon, yet it struggles with high water temperatures and other water quality issues that can be deadly to native fish populations. Native species benefited include Chinook, Endangered Species Listed Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho, and summer and winter steelhead salmon.

Main Stem Ash Creek Riparian Vegetation – Luckiamute Watershed Council

Ash Creek - Tributary of the Willamette River

The Luckiamute Watershed Council restored streamside vegetation along three miles of Ash Creek, a tributary to the Willamette River. The creek and its floodplain provide important ecological functions, including flood storage and habitat for upper Willamette winter steehead and spring Chinook. Native species benefited include spring Chinook and winter steelhead.

Fielder and Wimer Dam Removal - Geos Institute

Evans Creek - Tributary of the Rogue River

The Geos Institute partnered with American Rivers and WaterWatch Oregon to remove Fielder and Wimer Dams on Evans Creek, a tributary to the Rogue River, to restore unimpeded fish passage for migrating and resident aquatic species. Native species benefited include Endangered Species Listed Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho, fall Chinook, summer and winter steelhead, Klamath smallscale sucker, Pacific lamprey and cutthroat trout.

Bear Creek Riparian Improvement

Rogue River Watershed

The Rogue Valley Council of Governments, along with the City of Medford and other local partner, worked with public and private landowners to improve riparian and stream bank conditions along Bear Creek. The project included removal of invasive plants, installation and maintenance of native shrubs and trees and the incorporation of bioswales to treat urban runoff flowing through the newly planted streamside sites.

Lone Pine Creek Riparian Restoration Project

Bear Creek Watershed

The Lone Pine Creek Riparian Restoration Project restored degraded streamside habitat along 710 feet of Lone Pine Creek in southern Oregon. Students from Cascade Christian High School removed invasive plant species and planted native shrubs and trees, which provide shade to the stream channel where there is none now.

Upper Sandy River Basin Habitat Project

Sandy River Watershed

The Upper Sandy River Basin Restoration Project builds on years of significant habitat restoration projects on the Salmon River and Still Creek in the Sandy River Basin. Restoration activities for this year’s project included the reactivation of flow to seven side channels that are currently dewatered, restoration of two alcoves, construction of 43 large wood habitat structures, placement of 205 boulders and revegetation of streamside banks.

Zell Diversion Dam Removal Fish Passage

Umatilla Watershed

The Zell Push Up Dam Replacement Project restored fish passage access to 49 miles of spawning habitat, avoided historic fish stranding and mortality in an irrigation ditch and improved habitat diversity and water quality for the Walla Walla River.

Applegate River North Bank Riparian Restoration

Applegate River

The project addressed degraded streamside vegetation conditions on the north bank of the Applegate River by fencing and planting 700 feet of streamside vegetation. As part of a separate but complementary effort, another project to restore 3,000 feet of streamside habitat on the river’s south bank took place.

Snake Creek Reconnection

Klamath River Watershed

The project opened up 80 miles of habitat by reconnecting Snake Creek to the Sycan River by constructing a meandering channel. Three miles of streamside fencing were installed to prevent livestock from access to the new channel, while two off-stream solar watering systems were installed to provide water access to livestock.

Rudio Creek Ranch Habitat Restoration Project

John Day Watershed

Phase I of the Rudio Creek Ranch Habitat Restoration Project restored more than one mile of creek into its historic channel alignment, installed 70 large wood habitat structures, reconnected floodplain habitat and planted 13,000 native plants. Phase II project elements included additional off-channel habitat enhancement, streamside re-vegetation and floodplain fencing to protect the restored areas.

Truax Island Floodplain Restoration Phase 1 – Calapooia Watershed Council

Willamette River, Linn County, Oregon

As salmon populations in the Willamette River continue to struggle, the restoration of floodplain habitat has become an important component of salmon recovery in the basin. The Truax Island Floodplain Restoration Project reestablished a 27-acre floodplain forest along the eastern bank of the Willamette River consisting of native trees with a robust understory. A healthy floodplain forest helps to slow water velocities during floods creating an important refuge for juvenile salmon during their most vulnerable periods.

Kitchen Creek Riparian Restoration Project – Rogue River Watershed Council

Rogue River, Jackson County, Oregon

Bear Creek and its tributaries run directly through urban residential areas and are used for spawning, rearing, and migration for salmon and steelhead. Small tributary streams, like Kitchen Creek, are vital to wild steelhead and salmon recovery in the Rogue Basin because they provide cool water and important spawning and rearing habitat. This project improved water quality and enhanced 3 acres of riparian habitat along 1,300 feet of Kitchen Creek upstream of its confluence with Bear Creek. This project was a unique collaboration between neighbors and non-profit organizations.

Ashland Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project – Rogue River Watershed Council

Rogue River, Jackson County, Oregon

Small tributary streams like Ashland Creek are vital to wild steelhead and salmon recovery in the Rogue basin because they provide cool water and important spawning and rearing habitat. By removing the Smith-Myer-Roper Dam, the Rogue River Watershed Council and its partners have increased spawning success and juvenile salmon survival by extending access to cool and productive habitat.

Salmon River Habitat Restoration Project – The Freshwater Trust

Salmon River, Clackamas County, Oregon

The Freshwater Trust and its project partners – Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and the Sandy River Basin Partners – continue to advance restoration work in the Salmon River by accelerating the recovery of naturally functioning conditions and habitat for spring Chinook, coho and winter steelhead. Project work in 2019 built on previous work and included the restoration of year-round surface flow to 3 side channels (totaling 3,591 feet) and 1 off-channel pond/side channel complex along 0.6 miles of the Salmon River, placement of 60 pieces of large wood at the Salmon river/South Fork Salmon confluence and placement of 231 pieces of large wood on the Salmon River floodplain and lower South Fork Salmon. Monitoring of implemented projects has demonstrated that habitat and biological response is accomplishing watershed-scale restoration that contributes substantially to wild fish recovery.

Neal Creek Instream Habitat Restoration Design – Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District

Hood River, Hood River County, Oregon

On Neal Creek, the combination of channel alterations, fill from private and county roads, and large wood removal has led to entrenched channel segments with limited amounts of large wood. This project restored the ecological processes of the Neal Creek watershed, ensuring the health and viability of ESA-listed winter steelhead, coho salmon, and resident rainbow trout populations, and improving spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitat. This project developed 90% designs for habitat enhancement within the project reach, including floodplain reconnection, log jam installations, and pool enhancement. The aim is to create habitat features that optimize the sustained survival of threatened fish species by emulating naturally created habitat features.

Get In Touch

Have questions about the Blue Sky Habitat Fund?
Monique Leslie, Habitat Restoration Project Manager