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Tenmile Creek Beaver Habitat Restoration Project: 404 Permit Update

Updated: Mar 5, 2019


Below you will find the full 404 Permit Request that Alan Whitney, Mike Mader and I have completed and have begun the submission process for a beaver restoration habitat along Tenmile Creek. Along with the downloadable document for all the review, I wanted to take a few minutes to summarize how we got to this point, and why we are pursuing this action.

First and foremost, as the owner of Ringo’s Lakeside Marina, I have a dog in this fight. I have witnessed in less that 10 years two of the 6 original marinas close due to low water conditions on Tenmile Lakes. My own floating structures have been repeatedly damaged and rendered unusable during the summer months. Also, countless lakefront owner docks have been damaged, local tourism has been impacted as boats struggle to launch in low water conditions and lake passage through Tenmile Canal is severely restricted.

Since moving to Lakeside in 2009 I have undertaken this fight 3 times and have been on the Water Depth subcommittee for all of my 10 years. Concrete Dams, Bladder Dams, Gated Weirs, you name it we have tried to do it. All of these options would work, all of them never got as far as the 404 permit request that we have completed here. Why? Water Rights, Fish Passage, excessive costs, make these options pretty much unviable. What is left for us to try is to create a beaver restoration habitat using all natural and native materials and restoring adjacent riparian areas, in hopes that some of the hundreds of beavers in our water system adopt our habitat. The positive side effect is that a restoration effort would naturally slow the flow of Tenmile Creek. This effort, if successful, would achieve approximately 2-3 feet of additional lake depth throughout the dry summer months (compared to doing nothing). Since our lake depth fluctuates throughout the year, I believe we can achieve 2-3 feet of additional depth as measured on Labor day weekend. This effort would also allow natural fish passage (beavers and fish have cohabited for eons), and do so simply with a habitat restoration process that has already been approved and implemented throughout the United States including many locations in Oregon.

I already mentioned all previous options investigated are exceedingly expensive. Our project here is not without costs. I want to make it clear that it is my opinion that we as the TLA should and will fund this effort completely. If needed the TLA will setup a GoFundMe campaign should the costs exceed our ability to pay with what we have now. When I spoke to the Lakeside City Council on behalf of the TLA, I committed to the Council that the city would not incur any costs for this project. While the city will hopefully approve the installation on city property, any Surveys, permits, etc. to satisfy the concerns of the city (or other agency) should fall on the TLA.

Finally, this project is not intended to be a be all end all solution to all the lakes’ problems. I do support this effort and believe that this the first doable improvement to the lake and will be a positive effort for the community. All risks should and will be scrutinized and mitigated. I would like to invite anyone down to the marina to discuss this project and discuss any concerns you have with me personally. I have also included my email should you want to discuss this project that way. I believe this to be a net positive for the entire community. Oregon is the Beaver State.


John Reiss TLA Member, Lakefront Business Owner, and Lakeside Resident

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