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Volunteers needed for riparian work party

The Bear Creek Watershed Council needs volunteers for a two-hour work party Saturday to improve riparian lands along Ashland and Bear creeks in Ashland.

The 10 a.m. to noon work party will focus on the area along the Bear Creek Greenway downstream of the Ashland Water Treatment Plant, where restoration work has focused on creating shady riparian zones to help cool the creeks and improve habitat for wild salmon.

Among other things, volunteers will plant trees, pull weeds and prune trees and brush. Volunteers should bring work gloves and water. Snacks will be provided.

Volunteers should park near the Ashland Dog Park and walk down the Greenway to the project area.

This week's light rains finally have gotten salmon and steelhead on the move in the upper Rogue River, where migration patterns had been stunted by low and cold flows.

Cole Rivers Hatchery crews Wednesday afternoon collected 293 coho salmon and 48 summer steelhead from the hatchery's collection pond, hatchery Manager David Pease says.

Those fish entered the pond over the past week.

The new counts come after weeks of single-digit returns of summer steelhead, whose run now is winding down in the Rogue.

Wednesday's collection brings the summer steelhead count to 1,451 fish. That is a hair above the 10-year average for mid-November, hatchery records show.

The coho count to date is 511, which is well below the 10-year average of 806 fish by mid-November, records show.

Fly-fishing for bass and steelhead in Northeast Oregon's John Day River will be highlighted as part of a conservation program during the Rogue Flyfishers Association's monthly meeting Wednesday in Medford.

Jim Cox, director of donor relations for the Western Rivers Conservancy will make a presentation entitled "Saving Rivers and Fishing the John Day."

The first half of the presentation will focus on how the conservancy buys riverlands across the western United States to protect and conserve the resources and to provide compatible public access.

The second half of the program will focus on fly-fishing the John Day for its world-class smallmouth bass fishery and its run of wild summer steelhead. The meeting will be at the Inn at the Commons (formerly the Red Lion Hotel), 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.

A Wet Fly social hour will begin at 6 p.m., with a buffet dinner and raffle at 7 p.m. The public is welcome.

For more on the association, see www.rogueflyfishers.org.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.