Kentuck Mitigation Project
To continue to fulfill its promise to Oregon, Jordan Cove aims to go beyond what is “simply required” and will create more than 100 acres of critical Coho salmon overwinter and juvenile rearing habitat. When completed, this habitat will help support the de-listing from the endangered species list of a distinct population segment of Coho Salmon in Southwest Oregon.
Supporting these wild fish and the significant heritage they represent to all Oregonians, the mitigation project will reconnect two spawning streams to the former Kentuck Golf Course and return natural tidal function to the property.
Critical rearing and feeding habitat will be created for out-migrating juvenile Coho, as well as resting areas for returning adults. Where golf carts formerly traveled, the Kentuck Project calls for constructing new riparian corridors to support migratory waterfowl, raptors and mammals.
This ambitious effort will provide important fish structure and complexity across what is now a landscape-scale project to ultimately include wide-ranging habitat of mudflats, salt marsh and willowed scrub, as well as public access and educational opportunities. The design balances environmental benefits with community concerns by accounting for potential saltwater intrusion, flood control during heavy winter rain and mosquito suppression.
Using the best of current salmon science, the project’s design team has worked to create a model plan to strongly support young Coho and other salmonids as they develop, preparing them for their long journey to the sea and their return to native spawning waters.
From saltwater to freshwater, former golf course fairways and greens will be converted to high value marsh and off-channel habitat. A new bridge will connect the Coos Bay Estuary to the project site, allowing for natural tidal exchanges and unhindered fish passage.
Off-channel, marsh and estuarine areas provide one of the most important stages of development habitat for young out-migrating salmonids. This type of habitat helps them attain both size and vigor, increasing their odds for return. A recent compilation of wetland research (funded by Wild Rivers Coast Alliance and conducted by The Nature Conservancy) shows newly created off-channel habitat supports 220-340 additional smolt and an additional 11 to 17 more returning adult salmon per acre. New feeding and rearing areas help juvenile salmon stay together in groups. Current research also shows that group salmon migration translates to better open-ocean navigation and return.
From the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to our highly skilled and recognized design team, the conceptual design of this project is a strong collaborative effort.
Design team members have included winners of the American Fisheries Society’s North American Riparian Award, a NOAA Environmental Hero Award winner recognized for outside-the-box work in saving wild Coho, and a bioengineer recognized by Queen Elizabeth II with a British Order of the Empire for work restoring the famous Thames River and creating the Jubilee Channel.
Jordan Cove is also reaching out to local Tribes to incorporate cultural and educational enhancements into the design.
Not only are wild Coho an important part of Oregon’s environment and culture, they represent an important part of Oregon’s coastal resource economy. To Oregonians, these fish represent something on a much deeper level.
This is why Jordan Cove is committed to being a valuable partner in efforts to returning wild coastal Coho runs to a healthy and sustainable level through implementation of the Kentuck Project and contributing to the future of Oregon’s Coho Salmon.