About the Calapooia
While there has been significant loss of habitat within the Calapooia Watershed, many natural features that historically promoted high fish and wildlife productivity are still intact. In addition to timber harvesting in the upper watershed, the watershed has been drained and used extensively for grass seed farming. Fortunately, many of the processes that have been altered by humans over the years are reversible. According to the Pacific Coast Joint Venture Implementation Plan for the Willamette Valley, “the Calapooia River corridor still contains some of the best riparian forests remaining in the valley. The best riparian zones are found just east of Interstate 5, near Tangent. Backwater sloughs and native stands of Sitka and Pacific willow are also found throughout the basin. Courtney Creek contains mudflats that are the largest vernal pool communities remaining in the Valley. Many shorebirds also use the saturated soils, ponds, and low vegetation cover for winter habitat.”
The Calapooia River is home to two species listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act: winter steelhead and spring Chinook. The Calapooia watershed steelhead represent the uppermost distribution of steelhead in the Willamette system. The steelhead population in the basin is native and has never been supplemented or augmented with hatchery stock. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife conducts annual redd surveys to determine the steelhead population, and returns from 2001-2004 ranged from 410 to 494. The basin is believed to be capable of producing and supporting upwards of 1,100 steelhead. Spring Chinook salmon are also native to the basin. However, spawning habitat was degraded throughout the 1940s to 1970s due to mass erosion and land movements from timber harvesting. By the 1970s, the natural production of spring Chinook was thought to be minimal or non-existent. Today’s population is from hatchery stock. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has a goal to re-establish a run of 650 spring Chinook salmon in the Calapooia Basin; currently, fewer than 100 return each year. Click here for Map of Fish Distribution.
Land ownership in the Calapooia watershed is approximately 94% private, making private landowner participation in improving watershed health very important.
Private stakeholders include agriculture, rural and urban landowners, timber resources (Weyerhaeuser, Inc. – 44,00 acres), businesses, and natural resources.
The public stakeholders include the US Forest Service (6,000 acres), Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Linn County, and Small Communities including Holley, Crawfordsville, Brownsville, Tangent, Shedd, and Albany.