Graduate Project

Municipal Water Impacts on Steelhead Trout in the Gales Creek Watershed

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  • This capstone project is presented for the completion of Oregon State University’s (OSU) Master of Natural Resources Program. Water resource reliability in the Pacific Northwest is becoming less dependable, but population and municipal water demand is increasing. The Gales Creek Watershed and its tributary Clear Creek encompass 48,481 acres in the Tualatin River Basin. The city of Forest Grove owns Clear Creek and uses stream for municipal water. In addition to Clear Creek’s municipal importance, the watershed is also used for native steelhead trout spawning. This capstone has been prepared to research how and if municipal water intake impact steelhead trout summer habitat. It includes watershed history, agency roles, fish survey history, cost-benefit approaches, and recommendations for sustaining steelhead trout habitat while maintaining municipal water supply. The results find that the city can reduce their summer intake of Clear Creek water and still meet municipal water needs. Funding could come from timber harvest revenue or an ecological services charge. These future water use decisions will set the course for increased appreciation and conservation of steelhead trout habitat.
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