BOISE, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation has hired a full-time subbasin liaison to manage a mitigation program for fish habitat, including efforts aimed at removing instream barriers to migrating fish in the area around John Day.
Mark Croghan, originally from Elgin, will work with local landowners and groups to provide assistance in removing instream barriers to salmon and steelhead migration. Other fish habitat improvement projects include installing or modifying fish screens, and improving stream flows by way of water acquisition.
"Our main approach is to work with the existing programs," Croghan said.
Reclamation projects will happen in cooperation with local agencies and entities such as the Grant Soil and Water Conservation District, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Oregon Water Resources Department. All reclamation activities in the basin will depend strictly on voluntary participation by local landowners, the agency emphasized.
Croghan explained that he will be working under a biological opinion issued in December 2000 by the National Marine Fisheries Service on the Federal Columbia River Power System. The Bureau of Reclamation is required to help mitigate the effects of dams on fish by conducting habitat improvements in basins.
Croghan said the Bureau of Reclamation, which was the center of controversy for diverting water from irrigators in the Klamath Basin, faces a different situation in the John Day Basin. In the Klamath Falls region, Bureau of Reclamation owns the diversion devices, whereas there is no agency ownership of devices in the John Day Basin.
"We're not going to own anything after we're done," he added.
Croghan is an Oregon State University graduate who has worked for the Bureau of Reclamation for 12 years, most recently in the Snake River area office. He is married with three children. Project work was initiated last year in four subbasins, hiring liaisons and by initiating programmatic National Environmental Policy Act compliance and Endangered Species Act consultation efforts.
Croghan can be contacted by calling 575-3033 or by visiting him at the Federal Building, 431 Patterson Bridge Road. For more information, access www.pn.usbr.gov.