Salmon spawn in Crystal Springs Creek for first time in decades - KPTV - FOX 12

Salmon spawn in Portland's Crystal Springs Creek for first time in decades

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Photo: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Photo: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Photo: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Photo: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Coho salmon are spawning in southeast Portland's Crystal Springs Creek for the first time in decades.

The Bureau of Environmental Services in Portland has worked with several partners since 2008 to remove seven culverts from the creek, allowing salmon to find their way farther upstream.

In October, Environmental Services fish biologist Melissa Brown used an underwater camera to capture video of a pair of wild coho salmon spawning just upstream from one of the culvert removal projects.

Crystal Springs is a tributary to Johnson Creek, which flows to the Willamette River. Biologists said it's naturally cool with a steady year-round flow that provides an ideal salmon and steelhead habitat.

Native salmon have also been found in Johnson Creek as far upstream as Gresham.

Steelhead trout, coho and Chinook salmon spend part of their life cycle in Crystal Springs Creek. They migrate to the Pacific Ocean then return to their original spawning grounds where they lay and fertilize eggs, then die.

"This work has allowed wild salmon to return to the city for the first time in a generation," said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. "Crystal Springs Creek has Portland's best fish habitat but it's been inaccessible to salmon for 40 years, until now."

The last two culverts on the creek are scheduled to be removed next year.

People and pets should keep their distance from the spawning areas. Fish carcasses should also not be disturbed, as biologists say they provide nutrients essential to aquatic life.

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