Province Summary


John Day Subbasin Summary

The John Day Subbasin drains a large portion of northeast Oregon (approximately 8000 mi2), flowing 284 miles from its source in the Strawberry Mountains (9000-foot elevation), to its mouth at RM 217 (200-foot elevation) on the Columbia River. The John Day system contains over 500 river miles and is the second largest undammed tributary in the western United States. Only the Yellowstone River is larger.

The subbasin»s vegetation ranges from coniferous forest at higher elevations to perennial grassland at middle elevations to desert shrub-steppe at lower elevations. Riparian habitats are often found along the subbasin»s waterways. Irrigated agriculture is undertaken on many floodplain meadows throughout the subbasin, and dryland farming is present to varying degrees (large wheat farms in the lower subbasin and dryland hay in scattered areas throughout the subbasin).

The John Day Subbasin is an overwhelmingly rural area with relatively low populations. This population is spread between the scattered ranches, farms and homesites of outlying areas; small towns of 100 to 500 people built around a few small service businesses, a post office and perhaps a school; and the larger towns of 500 to 1821 which generally serve as county seats, and are home to government offices and numerous service-oriented businesses.

Over 95% of the lands within the subbasin are zoned for agriculture and forestry. Private and federal lands are used mainly for livestock grazing and forage production. Urban lands comprise only 0.3% of the land base.

Source: John Day Subbasin Plan

Status and Trends of Focal Species in John Day Subbasin
 
Species ESU MPG Population Biological Objective (s) Biological Status Federal Status Data / Charts
Spring Chinook Middle Columbia      Subbasin Plan Objective :
Average run size of 20,000 adults and jacks to the John Day313
 
Adult Escapement (natural)
2011: 14,494 adults (natural)215
Redd Counts (natural)
2015: 1,146 redds (natural) 216, 217, 218, 220, 221, 222, 223
Not Listed Status & Trends
Summer Steelhead Middle Columbia  John Day River  Upper Mainstem, South Fork, Middle Fork, North Fork, Lower Mainstem  Subbasin Plan Objective :
Average run size of 49,000 fish to the John Day313
Recovery Plan Criteria :
Upper Mainstem or Middle Fork - 1,000 natural adults, other must be maintained; North Fork must remain highly viable (currently 1,740 natural adults); Lower mainstem - 2,250 natural adults; South Fork must be maintained302
 
NOSA Estimate
2014: 20,505 spawners 474
Redd Counts (natural)
2017: 157 redds (natural)209, 210, 211, 240, 241
Threatened Status & Trends
Bull Trout John Day River (Within John Day River Recovery Unit)    North Fork (7 populations), Middle Fork (3 populations), Upper Mainstem (2 populations)  Draft Recovery Plan Criteria :
5,000 individuals distributed among 12 or more local populations312
 
Redd Counts
2005: 154 redds 440
Threatened Status & Trends
Westslope Cutthroat       Subbasin Plan Objective :
None313
 
Unknown (1,229 of 2,622 historically occupied stream miles are currently occupied) 441 Species of Concern No Data
Redband Trout       Subbasin Plan Objective :
None313
 
Unknown (abundant in most headwater areas) Species of Concern No Data
    
View abundance data for John Day Subbasin
 
Hatcheries located in John Day Subbasin
**Hatchery data will be updated in 2016**

   There are no hatcheries located in this subbasin.
 
 
Hatchery Releases and Returns to John Day Subbasin
No hatchery releases and/or returns for subbasin.
Recovery Status for ESA-Listed Salmon and Steelhead in the John Day Subbasin376

Updated : 5/27/2010

Species Population Abundance Threshold Mean Abundance Major Spawning Area Growth Rate Recruits / Spawners Current Viability
Steelhead Upper Mainstem 1,000 524 (1994-2003) 5 of 5 0.99 2.14 Moderate
  South Fork 500 259 3 of 3 0.98-0.99 2.06 Moderate
  Middle Fork 1,000 756 2 of 2 1.00-1.10 2.45 Moderate
  North Fork 1,500 1,740 8 of 8 1.00 2.41 Very High
  Lower Mainstem 2,250 1,800 11 of 11 1.00-1.01 2.99 (1980-1998) Moderate
Limiting Factors in the John Day Subbasin 376, 389, 390

BULL TROUT
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Migration Impediments Juveniles, adults Many locations in the John Day River and its tributaries are seasonally dammed (push-up dams) for irrigation.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Riparian Forest Management; Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation Juveniles, adults Forest management, agriculture, and livestock grazing practices have degraded riparian cover and function.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation; Bank Destabilization Juveniles, adults Pool habitat has been lost, and large woody debris is minimal..
Toxic Contaminants Water -- Mining Activities Pollution: Heavy Metal All Mining practices have degraded water quality.
Water Quality Temperature -- Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Filling; Riparian Degradation All Water temperatures have increased from destruction of cold water springs.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal All Summer low flows caused by irrigation diversions result in passage and spawning difficulties.
REDBAND TROUT
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation; Bank Destabilization Juveniles, adults Pool habitat has been lost, and large woody debris is minimal..
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Riparian Forest Management; Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation Juveniles, adults Forest management, agriculture, and livestock grazing practices have degraded riparian cover and function.
Toxic Contaminants Water -- Mining Activities Pollution: Heavy Metal All Mining practices have degraded water quality.
Water Quality Temperature -- Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Filling; Riparian Degradation All Water temperatures have increased from destruction of cold water springs.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal All Summer low flows caused by irrigation diversions result in passage and spawning difficulties.
SPRING CHINOOK
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Morphological Changes Freshwater-Floodplain Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density); Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Juveniles Floodplains in the lower John Day River have been extensively altered by agriculture, livestock grazing, and transportation corridors.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Riparian Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation Juveniles Riparian areas in the lower John Day River have been extensively altered by agriculture, livestock grazing, and transportation corridors. Levels of large woody debris are severely reduced in the Middle Fork watershed.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Diking; Filling; Wood/Structure Removal Juveniles Habitat quantity and diversity are key limiting factors in the Middle Fork, South Fork, North Fork, and Upper John Day watersheds.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass three mainstem dams during migration
Sediment Conditions Increased Sediment Quantity Freshwater-Instream Forest Management; Urbanization Sediment: Bank Destabilization; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density) Eggs, juveniles Sediment load is a high priority limiting factor throughout the subbasin, especially in most tributaries of the Lower John Day and North Fork watersheds.
Toxic Contaminants Water -- Mining Activities Pollution: Heavy Metal Eggs, juveniles Leaching of toxic mine waste is a problem in the North Fork watershed.
Water Quality Turbidity; Temperature; pH; Oxygen -- Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Bank Destabilization Eggs, juveniles Turbidity is very high in Cottonwood Creek after storm events. The Lower John Day and numerous tributaries throughout the subbasin are on the Oregon state 303(d) list for exceeding temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and fecal coliform standards.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Agricultural Practices Water: Storage or Withdrawal Eggs, juveniles Summer low flows caused by irrigation diversions result in passage and spawning difficulties in Lower John Day tributaries.
SUMMER STEELHEAD
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Biological Viability Criteria Diversity -- Artificial Propogation Straying Adult spawners Out-of-basin stray steelhead spawning with indigenous populations pose serious genetic risks.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability Freshwater-Instream Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles, adults Partial passage barriers created by water diversions limit movements of juvenile salmonids in Bridge, Kahler, Muddy, Lower Rock, and Thirtymile creeks (Lower John Day), and in the South Fork watershed.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Morphological Changes Freshwater-Floodplain Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density); Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Juveniles Floodplains in the lower John Day River have been extensively altered by agriculture, livestock grazing, and transportation corridors.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Riparian Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation Juveniles Riparian areas in the lower John Day River have been extensively altered by agriculture, livestock grazing, and transportation corridors. Levels of large woody debris are severely reduced in the Middle Fork watershed.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Diking; Filling; Wood/Structure Removal; Wetland Loss Juveniles Habitat diversity and large woody debris is lacking in Bridge, Mountain, Rock, Cottonwood, Ferry Canyon, Pine Hollow and Thirtymile creeks. Habitat quantity and diversity are key limiting factors in the Middle Fork, South Fork, North Fork, and Upper John Day watersheds.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass three mainstem dams during migration
Sediment Conditions Increased Sediment Quantity Freshwater-Instream Forest Management; Urbanization Sediment: Bank Destabilization; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density) Eggs, juveniles Sediment load is a high priority limiting factor throughout the subbasin, especially in most tributaries of the Lower John Day and North Fork watersheds.
Toxic Contaminants Water -- Mining Activities Pollution: Heavy Metal Eggs, juveniles Leaching of toxic mine waste is a problem in the North Fork watershed.
Water Quality Turbidity; Temperature; pH; Oxygen -- Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Bank Destabilization Eggs, juveniles Turbidity is very high in Cottonwood Creek after storm events. The Lower John Day and numerous tributaries throughout the subbasin are on the Oregon state 303(d) list for exceeding temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and fecal coliform standards.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Agricultural Practices Water: Storage or Withdrawal Eggs, juveniles Summer low flows caused by irrigation diversions result in passage and spawning difficulties in Lower John Day tributaries.
WESTSLOPE CUTTHROAT
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation; Bank Destabilization Juveniles, adults Pool habitat has been lost, and large woody debris is minimal..
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Riparian Forest Management; Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation Juveniles, adults Forest management, agriculture, and livestock grazing practices have degraded riparian cover and function.
Toxic Contaminants Water -- Mining Activities Pollution: Heavy Metal All Mining practices have degraded water quality.
Water Quality Temperature -- Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Filling; Riparian Degradation All Water temperatures have increased from destruction of cold water springs.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal All Summer low flows caused by irrigation diversions result in passage and spawning difficulties.