Eleven grants from the Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby have been awarded to Douglas County groups to assist with fishery enhancement, restoration and educational projects in the Umpqua Basin.

The recipients of funds from the 27th annual derby were announced this week by the derby steering committee.

The 2019 derby, held in February, raised more than $100,000 to invest in projects that aid fisheries in the Umpqua Basin, and $64,767 was awarded to applicants this week.

The largest award, $15,000 went to the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery in Idleyld Park for a hatchhouse upgrade.

The Elk Creek Watershed received $12,000 for restoration projects on Jack Creek and Hardscrabble Creek.

The Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay STEP (Salmon Trout Enhancement Program) in western Douglas County was awarded $8,000 for an auto-start backup generator and propane tank.

The Smith River Watershed Council got $7,000 for Big Creek Instream Restoration Phase III and a $6,000 grant for Halfway Creek Instream Restoration.

Eastwood Elementary School in Roseburg, which operates a small fish hatchery, at the school was awarded a $3,000 grant to help repair the hatchery equipment that was damaged during the high water in Deer Creek last winter.

Eastwood fifth grade teacher Camron Pope, who conducts the salmon hatchery project at the school, said the grant will allow them to make some upgrades to the acclimation site and their tanks.

“The derby and the Umpqua Fishers Association are really good to us and we really appreciate what they do for our kids and for us here at Eastwood,” Pope said. “We’re kind of repaying that by educating the kids about the fish and cycles and rearing the fish down here.”

Dave Loomis of the derby board said the board felt that was a good project to support because it teaches the students a lot about the fish.

“That was a good one because the students feed the fish all the time and keep track of them,” he said.

Other grants went to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for “A Nose for Fish,” a fish study on the South Umpqua River; Oregon State Police for a life preserver giveaway; and Project Healing Waters for a pontoon boat for disabled veterans. The Umpqua Fishermen’s Association got a pair of grants for winter steelhead acclimation and to help Barrett Creek winter steelhead.

The derby has contributed more than $1.64 million in matching funds toward hundreds of fishery projects in the Umpqua Basin in the past 27 years.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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