Frequently Asked Questions


What are you doing to control mosquitos?

The project has been designed to avoid mosquito problems that other projects have experienced. 

  • A mosquito problem like the one seen near Bandon is unlikely. The Winter Lake Restoration Project is located 20 miles upriver in freshwater, as opposed to an environment where that species of mosquito flourishes.
  • Mosquitos breed in stagnant water. Tide levels at the Winter Lake Restoration Project will be controlled through a muted tidal regulator (MTR) tide gate system that can be adjusted to ensure no stagnant water exists.  
  • The project provides habitat for stickleback, a native fish, and gambusia (mosquito fish) that both prey on mosquito larvae. Mosquito experts have stated that these two fish species can control mosquito populations through predation on the mosquito larvae.
  • If a mosquito problem occurs, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is committed to taking quick, necessary action to resolve the issue. Additionally, ODFW will address the issue in their management plan for the area.
  • The same mosquito experts working on the Bandon issue have toured the Winter Lake Restoration site and provided input. These experts will be involved in review of the various design levels and their recommendations incorporated in the project design.

Will beavers move into the restoration area, plugging culverts, ditches and flooding neighboring properties?

Beavers are furbearing animals managed by ODFW. Beavers provide important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species through dam building and pond formation, but can have negative impacts on infrastructure and property. ODFW's furbearer management plan provides strategies for managing beaver populations on restored areas that allow beaver populations to exist while addressing impacts to neighboring infrastructure and property. These strategies include deception devices, pond levelers, and trap and transplant. 

 

How does the project help Oregon's natural resources and the native fish and wildlife that call them home?
The project will restore 420 acres of wetlands in the Winter Lake area in the Coquille Valley. More specifically, the project will:
  • Reconnect river and stream channels
  • Restore wetland and riparian vegetation
  • Remove invasive species
  • Positively effect water quality
  • Improve fish passage capability
  • Provide access to and enhance over winter habitat for the endangered Coho salmon

Why is it important to provide habitat for coho salmon?

Salmon in our rivers and ocean support Oregon’s ecosystem health and economic well-being. Ecosystem health is supported by the nutrients returning salmon bring to local streams, ┬âthe efforts Oregonians’ make to help protect and restore functional salmon habitats, and the stewardship of industries and local residents who live and work in salmon supporting habitats, such as the Coquille. Community livability and economic well-being is supported by, among others, strong fish runs that enable commercial fisheries to command premium market prices, enable sport fishers to experience success, and ┬âinvite tourism which enjoys the aesthetic qualities of salmon in Oregon’s coastal landscapes. Oregonians believe that productive, clean streams can (and do) exist in and contribute to economically productive landscapes. The recovery of salmon in Oregon will symbolize Oregonian’s ability to work together to achieve positive, measurable environmental results for salmon compatible with local economies, jobs, property values and property rights.

 

Won’t these projects take money away from the county and school districts?

Some land within the area is owned by ODFW. Oregon law requires ODFW to pay in lieu taxes at the same rate as private landowners. ODFW will also pay fire assessments at double the rate as private landowners. The project will raise awareness of  the economical, environmental, and social benefits of working landscapes.

 

What makes the China Camp Creek Project and Winter Lakes Restoration projects unique?

Partner organizations have been working with ranchers and farmers, community members and landowners since 2008 to address concerns and create project designs that create win-wins for everyone - restoring our natural resources, supporting farmers and ranchers and stimulating the local economy. Partners are committed to investing in restoration that puts people to work. From 2001-2010, there were nearly 7,000 restoration projects completed across Oregon, which supported thousands of jobs in local communities. Healthy working landscapes help strengthen the local community by creating jobs in Coos County, improving farming and ranching, improving water quality and restoring a thriving environment for fish, birds and wildlife. Partners worked with Wild Rivers Coast Alliance to calculate the economic benefits of the project, based on past projects of a similar size and scope. In the short-term, the project will create between 18-25 jobs and generate between $2.6-$3.4 million to the local economy.

 

Are you going to take land away from farmers and ranchers? 

Partners have been working with landowners, ranchers and farmers since 2008 on project design that supports local farmers and ranchers. The key is to develop infrastructure that meets fish passage criteria, thus allowing the land to continue to be productive for agricultural and ranching uses in the future. Landowners, including farmers and ranchers, have been stewards of the Winter Lake landscape for well over a century. Partners are fortunate to have the support of many in the local agricultural community.

 

Who is involved?

The project is a collaborative effort between District landowners, the Beaver Slough Drainage District, The Nature Conservancy and ODFW. The Beaver Slough Drainage District will be responsible for the oversight and management of the project, allowing the agricultural community to play a critical role in the process. As provided by Oregon Statute (ORS 547), the Beaver Slough Drainage District has the authority and responsibility to provide necessary infrastructure that meets fish passage criteria and develop a water management plan that allows all landowners to meet their management objectives on their individual ownership parcels. All operations on individual parcels within the District must be within the parameters of the District water management plan. The WLRP project signed a contract with the Oregon Water Enhancement Board (OWEB) in December 2013. OWEB consists of 17 members from all over the state, including the Oregon Coast. The board is charged with representing the best interests of the community, including managing projects like this and implementing a long-term strategy for achieving sustainable watershed health. The goal is to succeed with this particular project and start a larger conversation with community members about how we can support our farmers and ranchers, while balancing the need to protect the natural resources and restore biological function that make Coos County so unique. 

 

What will the restored wetlands look like?

Here's a picture of restored wetlands in the Beaver Slough watershed adjacent to Winter Lake. Photo credit: Charlie Quinn.

Beaver Slough watershed wetland restoration


What if the projects don’t happen?

If the projects are not completed, infrastructure and tide gates will continue to deteriorate and the Winter Lake/China Camp Creek area will become an unmanaged wetland with unintended consequences. Specifically, our local economy will be hindered because the land will decline in value and become unsuitable for grazing. Roads, berms utilities and other infrastructure will continue to deteriorate, negatively impacting farmers and ranchers. In addition, the unique landscape in Coos County will continue to erode over time, damaging our wetlands and animal habitat. The time to act is now.