CTUIR Fish Habitat Restoration Efforts in the John Day River Basin

In 2000 CTUIR received mitigation funding from Bonneville Power Administration to work with private and public landowners within the N.F. John Day River Basin to offset for the construction and operation of hydropower dams. This builds upon previous efforts in other basins across CTUIR’s ceded territories in support of CTUIR’s Department of Natural Resources mission to; “protect, restore, and enhance the First Foods – water, salmon, deer, cous, and huckleberry – for the perpetual cultural, economic, and sovereign benefit of the CTUIR. We will accomplish this utilizing traditional ecological and cultural knowledge”.

Funding from Bonneville Power Administration and competitive grant awards enhances CTUIR’s ability to sustain their culture while working with public and private entities to improve land management practices and provide salient benefits to the landowner while improving ecological systems.

The NFJD River is the largest tributary to the John Day River flowing westerly for 180 kilometers to join the mainstem John Day River near Kimberly, Oregon. The NFJD River’s basin covers 47,885 square kilometers consisting of 37% private, 62% federal, and 1% state lands. The NFJD has been designated as a Wild and Scenic River from Camas Creek upstream to the head waters including one portion classified as “Wild,” two as “Scenic,” and two as “Recreational.” These segments are primarily managed by the UNF and WWNF. State Scenic Waterways designated by the State of Oregon, stretch from Monument, OR upstream to the NFJD Wilderness boundary and from the confluence with the North Fork John Day River upstream to the Crawford Creek Bridge on the Middle Fork John Day River. The Middle Fork John Day River (MFJD) flowing into the NFJD is generally considered and primarily managed as a separate system by ODFW and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. The NFJD contains fifteen 5th Field HUC’s of which four, the Upper and Lower Camas Creek, Desolation Creek, and Granite Creek units are considered ‘priority’ areas for the purpose of concentrating the Project’s restoration efforts.

Read about What is being done?

Measurable Results

The restoration efforts in the John Day River Basin are substantial. Here are some of our measurable accomplishments:


Miles of Stream Flow Improved
Acre-Feet of Water Protected
Acre-Feet of Water Conserved

4 Miles of Improved Complexity
15 Pool Habitats Created
102 In-Stream Structures Installed

69 Floodplain Acres Restored
135 Miles of Fish Habitat Accessed
10 Barriers Removed & Improved

1,549 Riparian Acres Improved
55 Riparian Miles Improved
5,189 Riparian Acres Protected

Project Goal

To protect, enhance and restore functional, healthy and sustainable floodplain, channel and watershed process for the purpose of protecting and restoring fisheries and aquatic species in the North Fork John Day Subbasin.

Project Objective

The N.F. John Day Habitat Improvement Project strives to implement actions that address core physical and biologic processes identified in the Umatilla River Vision thereby enabling the reestablishment of the CTUIR's First Foods. Treatments will be specific to the needs of project sites with consideration of processes tied to the larger watershed and past and present land management strategies.

Project Funders

Funder Funding Amount
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board$6,572,029
Bonneville Power Administration$3,363,408
Umatilla National Forest$341,336
Eco Trust$333,771
NF John Day Watershed Council$191,868
Wallowa Whitman National Forest$101,773
Trout Unlimited$40,600
Bella Viata Funds$40,243
US Forest Service$24,400
Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds$20,510
NW Youth Corp$15,000
National Forest Foundation$10,000
Bureau of Reclamation$10,000
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)$2,500
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife$1,400

Project Partners