In 2007 the North Santiam Watershed Council started working with a local landowner to assist with a failed culvert that was blocking river flow into the Hatch Side Channel, a side channel located in the Lower North Santiam River near the Hatch Airstrip west of Stayton. The Council was able to obtain funding to replace the undersized culvert with a larger culvert opening up the channel to year round water flows and providing migrating salmonids year round access to valuable spawning and rearing habitat. This culvert replacement project piqued the interest of surrounding neighbors who wanted to join in on the Hatch Side Channel restoration efforts. Working with several landowners and partners the Council was able to complete two project phases over five years (2007–2012). The following is a summary of accomplishments achieved during each project phase:
Phase I: Hatch Airport Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration Project
- Replacement of a failed, undersized culvert with an oversized countersunk culvert to improve fish passage and maintain function of a private airstrip.
- Placement of several engineered log jams in the side channel and additional habitat logs throughout the wetland/floodplain area.
- Removal of noxious weeds on approximately 3 acres surrounding the side channel.
- Placement of native plants around the culvert inlet and outlet for erosion control and to start establishing a riparian buffer.
Phase II: Hatch Side Channel Habitat Restoration
- Two additional undersized culverts were replaced with fish passable sized culverts that meet ODFW standards.
- Additional native riparian buffer areas restored along the side channel.
- Placement of 5 additional engineered log structures improving channel complexity.
Project Partners: Landowners, OWEB, NRCS WRP, FSA CREP, Marion County, Marion SWCD, City of Albany and City of Salem