Rogue River Watershed Council

Beeson-Robison Fish Passage Improvement

The Rogue River Watershed Council works to restore in-stream and streamside habitat, improve water quality, and encourage community members to become stewards of the vast Rogue River Watershed. In 2016, Schwemm Family Foundation funds were awarded to the Council for a project that focused on Wagner Creek, a tributary of Bear Creek, which flows into the Rogue River in southwest Oregon. One of the main aspects of this project is to remove the Beeson Robison dam.

This dam limits passage for juvenile and adult steelhead and Coho salmon. The dam is a 5.5-foot barrier during irrigation season when boards are installed to raise the water elevation and a 3-foot impediment from November 1 to mid-April when the boards are removed. Upstream migrating fish are not able to migrate past this structure under most flow conditions. During the irrigation season, upstream passage for juvenile fish is completely blocked, preventing over summering fish from reaching the coolest water in the Wagner Creek system. The removal of the Beeson-Robison dam will provide access to 3 additional miles of upstream habitat.

Once the dam is removed, the Council will replace it with a re-profiled stream channel with a 5% gradient over 115 feet. This engineered stream channel design will result in 7 jump pools made up of large boulders and “engineered streambed material”, gravels and cobbles that are compacted by heavy equipment so that the water flows on top of the material and mimics the pool that is created behind the dam each irrigation season. A new concrete diversion headworks and gate will be installed at the upstream end of the re-profiled stream channel to permit irrigation water diversion.