Electric Outage: 1-844-484-2300
Water Emergency: 541-685-7595
EWEB Main: 541-685-7000
Voluntary program helps residents restore their land and prepare for rebuilding, while reducing the impacts of the fire on the McKenzie River.Find Out More
Have you ever wondered what happens to the electric grid on Thanksgiving?Find Out More
Heavy rain in the McKenzie Valley over the weekend gave EWEB’s water quality team a close look at the potential impacts from the Holiday Farm Fire on source water.Find Out More
Crews of young people are helping to protect Eugene’s drinking water by mitigating the impact of post-fire soil erosion along the McKenzie River.Find Out More
Turning on the tap for safe drinking water, and flushing the toilet with no second thought about what happens to wastewater, are actions most of us take for granted every day. But this year as we face an enormous public health crisis stemming from the covid-19 pandemic, we must realize that reliable water service is something we depend on to protect our health and economy.Find Out More
In the aftermath of the Holiday Farm Fire, we’re working to protect the safety and security of our community’s sole source of drinking water.Find Out More
A team of Pacific Northwest public and private organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of what would be one of the largest renewable hydrogen production facilities in North America.Find Out More
We launched the emergency water supply program about two years ago with the goal of establishing several geographically dispersed water distribution sites throughout the community.Find Out More
We continue to monitor both the source water and treated drinking water to ensure its safety.Find Out More
Update on the capabilities of our Hayden Bridge Filtration plant when it comes to treating water from the McKenzie River amid the impacts of the Holiday Farm Fire.Find Out More
Each day, the treatment process is reviewed and adjustments are made accordingly.Find Out More
We want to assure all customers that the water drawn from the lower McKenzie River and then treated at the Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant is safe to drink.Find Out More
Eugene Water & Electric Board is exploring the impacts of widespread electrification on our community.Find Out More
Running the air conditioning can cause a blow to the household budget and increase carbon emissions.Find Out More
With irrigation season in full swing, now is a good time to protect yourself, your family and your neighbors by making sure any cross connections at your home or business have functioning and tested backflow assemblies.Find Out More
EWEB, McKenzie Watershed Council and the Willamette National Forest are collaboratively working on the project, which involves relocating a portion of 115 kV transmission line.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s when EWEB's Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project was originally built 70 miles east of Eugene on the upper McKenzie River, the area was isolated and much of the surrounding land was undeveloped national forest with limited access. Bringing power from the generator to Eugene homes and businesses required construction of an 18-mile transmission line to Cougar Reservoir, where it connects to the Bonneville Power Administration's system.
That transmission system, still in use today, runs primarily along hillsides and ridges. But in the lower Deer Creek valley, the high voltage powerlines intersect approximately three quarters of a mile of floodplain which, under historically natural conditions, was prime habitat for fish and other wildlife.
Deer Creek is the largest tributary to the McKenzie River and journeys approximately eight miles from its headwaters to its confluence with the McKenzie, currently Eugene's sole source of drinking water. Past land management practices, such as riparian logging, had impaired the watershed and contributed to poor habitat conditions in lower Deer Creek.
"Unfortunately, when the transmission line was routed through the Deer Creek floodplain around 60 years ago, it contributed to degradation of the riparian zone and habitat," says EWEB Generation Manager Mike McCann. "By Federal law, EWEB is required to manage vegetation below the transmission lines, so periodically we have to go in and cut all of the willows and alder and other species that provide shade to the stream, further impacting habitat."
Several years ago, the U.S. Forest Service and the McKenzie Watershed Council partnered to implement a restoration project on the lower portion of Deer Creek. Constraining berms were removed, and large wood was added to create deep pools for fish cover, slower water for resting, and sorted gravels for spawning beds. Initial results were positive, and during 2017, McKenzie Watershed Council reported that spring Chinook Salmon were observed spawning in Deer Creek for the first time since the early 90s.
But the restoration project was limited by EWEB's transmission lines. "It wasn't as effective as we would have liked," says EWEB Drinking Water Source Protection Supervisor Karl Morgenstern. "The powerlines wouldn't let us restore the greater floodplain and you really need to have the scale to make this stuff work."
Then, in the early 2000s, when EWEB began the relicensing process for Carmen-Smith, the Forest Service requested the transmission lines be moved from the Deer Creek riparian zone, if possible.
"That's when EWEB first made the commitment to move the lines to the adjacent hillside," says Mike McCann. "Moving the transmission lines is going to let us open that whole floodplain up for restoration."
This summer, land was cleared for the new hillside transmission corridor. Trees that were removed will be used in Phase 2 of the Deer Creek restoration project to create additional habitat for threatened bull trout and spring Chinook salmon, as well as rainbow and cutthroat trout and beaver.
"One of the things that came out of this project was a strategy for the future given what precipitation patterns and snowpack have been recently," says Karl Morgenstern. "It makes sense for us to do work in the watershed that keeps as much water on the landscape as possible."
Floodplain restoration helps spread water across the landscape, allowing it to soak in and release later in the summer.
Transmission line relocation is scheduled to begin mid-2021 and will be performed by EWEB electric crews. First the new towers will be installed and the transmission line rerouted, allowing EWEB to remove the existing structures. Once the transmission lines are removed, the floodplain restoration work will continue in the Deer Creek floodplain.
Photo Credit: McKenzie Watershed Council
500 East Fourth Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
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