Tide Gates, Coquille River Estuary

The Coquille River is a stream, about 36 miles (58 km) long, in southwestern Oregon formed by the confluence of the North Fork, about 53 miles (85 km) long,  and the South Fork, about 63 miles (101 km) long. It drains about 1,059 square miles (2,740 sq km) of Coast Range watershed between the Coos River to the north and the Rogue River to the south. The head of tide is 41 miles (66 km) upriver from the mouth and the rise and fall of the tides cause salt intrusion that prevents ordinary types of farming.

Tide gates and levees are used extensively in Washington, Oregon, and California to drain and reclaim saltmarshes for agricultural use or other developments. However, saltmarshes serve a valuable role for juvenile fishes and as wildlife habitat, and restoration efforts are underway in coastal communities like Bandon. Along the Pacific Northwest coast, wild salmon populations continue to decline. Like many northwestern rivers, the Coquille has lost much of its estuary habitat. Nearly 95 percent of prime salmon spawning and rearing waters there are gone.

A unique partnership of federal, state, tribal and local agencies, the agriculture industry, and environmental community worked together on a mutually beneficial habitat restoration project supporting salmon recovery. The project installed new tide gates and developed 8 miles (13 km) of tidal channels and 2.7 square miles (7 sq km) of habitat for coho salmon. allowing for seasonal use by agriculture in the summer, and fish and wildlife in the winter. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore the Coquille River estuary.