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COOS COUNTY — Work on the East Fork Millicoma Oxbow Reconnection began early Tuesday morning, the continuation of nearly a decade of work by the Coos Watershed Association.

Workers from West Coast Contractors on Tuesday installed a second set of bridge beams on the downstream bridge, part of a project intended to reconnect more than 16 miles of the East Fork Millicoma in order to make the river more hospitable for Chinook and coho salmon as well as steelhead trout.

The work is being done on Weyerhaeuser's Millicoma Tree Farm, and is intended to undo alterations done to the river in the 1950s. Although a fish ladder was constructed in the area in 1992 to help accommodate fish, the ladder is frequently blocked by wood clutter, making passage difficult, according to the Coos Watershed Association.

As part of the project, two bridges have been under construction since late April, and the first set of of bridge beams were installed on May 20.

In October, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board granted the Coos Watershed Association $1.26 million in revenue from Oregon Salmon License Plate sales to complete the work.

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Reporter Andrew Sheeler can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 234, or by email at andrew.sheeler@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @andrewsheeler.

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