At a Glance

A 12-foot diameter simulated streambed culvert provides year-round passage for all aquatic species at all life stages under all stream discharge conditions within a watershed important to Oregon’s salmon recovery efforts.

Project Description

The Clatskanie River in northwest Oregon is host to abundant salmonids. This river is unique because it is mostly rural agriculture and forestry land use and has never had a salmon and steelhead hatchery program implanted in it. Keystone Creek sits in the lower third of the Clatskanie watershed and provides spawning and rearing habitat within its lower reaches.

A culvert on the Tallman family property access was plugged and damaged during the December 2015 floods. The Columbia County SWCD acquired Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) funds from FEMA to aid private landowners in recovering from flood damages. The flood damaged buried utilities, the road bed, and caused serious bank and channel erosion within Keystone Creek.

Due to the importance of providing passage for fall coho, an in-water work extension was granted by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to replace the existing culvert with a fish-passable culvert capable of handling flood flows. The variance allowed Biohabitats to perform work within Keystone Creek through November 15, 2016. Biohabitats coordinated temporary utility relocations, and provided site dewatering, diversion, and fish rescue preconstruction services. A 40-foot long, 12-foot diameter corrugated metal pipe was installed with a simulated stream bottom substrate to provide fish and aquatic species passage for all life stages at all stream discharges. Biohabitats also restored the portion of Keystone Creek above the culvert to its pre-flood alignment and condition, improved the Tallman’s driveway, and provided native seed and willow revegetation services.

Immediately following the re-watering of the simulated stream bed culvert, Biohabitats' crews observed several adult coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) traveling upstream through the culvert toward their spawning areas on Keystone Creek.




Physiographic Province

Oregon Coast Range


Lower Columbia–Clatskanie

Expertise Areas

Design & Build, Ecological Restoration, General Contracting


Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District


Clatskanie, Oregon, Oregon, United States

Project Team
  • Lower Columbia Engineering