The Beaver Slough Drainage District (BSDD) is developing an innovative conservation project in the Coquille River basin that will increase the productivity of agricultural lands and improve the health of critical salmon habitat.  This project demonstrates the working landscapes concept which highlights a mutual benefit for both landowners and conservation.

Using funds provided by Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, BSDD will complete the engineering and design to secure permits in support of large-scale enhancement restoration activities for both agriculture and natural resources on 1,700 acres of the Coquille River floodplain.  Lack of off-channel over-wintering habitat, and access to that habitat, have been identified as key limiting factors for Coquille River Coho salmon populations.  The restoration of over-winter habitat and improving access for juvenile Coho Salmon are essential for Coho salmon recovery.  In addition, the BSDD’s existing tide gate structures are failing and need to be replaced under new fish passage requirements.  Replacing these old failing tide gate structures with new Muted Tidal Regulators (MTRs) will provide improved water management for agricultural landowners including much improved drainage, improved water quality, less maintenance, and a longer lifespan.  The MTRs are also adjustable allowing more floodplain connectivity and improved access to fish during the winter period when juvenile salmon are searching for slow moving off-channel habitat that will maximize benefits to Oregon Coast Coho as well as Chinook salmon and other wildlife species.

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“This project is a win-win situation for agriculture and natural resources. This project is a perfect example of the Working Landscapes concept.” – Steve Denney, Nature Conservancy’s South Coast Conservation Director