The current ford limits access to the forest until late July and impedes threatened and endangered fish species from moving up and down stream. Removing the ford is important to the rehabilitation of fish populations in Catherine Creek as it will restore fish passage for adult and juvenile spring/summer Chinook salmon, Steelhead, Bull trout, and Redband trout to nine miles of spawning and rearing habitat upstream of the ford.
The North Fork Catherine Creek area, located at the intersection of Forest Service Road (FSR) 7785 and FSR 100, is popular among hunters and hikers accessing the Eagle Cap Wilderness, as well as OHV users, firewood gatherers and Forest Service personnel. No recreation sites will be impacted during construction however parking will be limited. By removing the ford and replacing it with a bridge, accessibility will be improved and habitat enhanced for the native fish populations.
Work is expected to begin in early July and planned for completion by late August in advance of the archery season. There will be no turn around at the Junction for horse trailers during construction and the 100 road spur will be closed. However, FSR 7787 to Buck Creek Campground and Trailhead will remain open, allowing access to many of the nearby hiking and recreation sites. Below is a picture of the ford taken August 2012.
The project is being jointly funded in cooperation with the Grande Ronde Model Watershed providing local employment and economic benefits, and reliable, environmentally compatible access for the public over the long term.