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John Day River

John Day River
River
John Day River at Clarno
Name origin: John Day, a hunter and fur trapper[1]
Country United States
State Oregon
Tributaries
 - left South Fork John Day River
 - right North Fork John Day River
Source Strawberry Mountains
 - location Malheur National Forest, Grant County
 - elevation 6,681 ft (2,036 m) [2]
 - coordinates  [3]
Mouth Columbia River
 - elevation 268 ft (82 m) [2]
 - coordinates  [3]
Length 284 mi (457 km) [4][5]
Basin 8,000 sq mi (20,720 km2) [5]
Discharge for USGS gage 14048000, McDonald Ferry, river mile 20.9,
 - average 2,075 cu ft/s (59 m3/s) [6]
 - max 43,300 cu ft/s (1,226 m3/s)
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
Map of the John Day watershed
Wikimedia Commons:
The John Day River passing by Sheep Rock in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
This article is about the John Day River in eastern Oregon. There is also the John Day River in northwestern Oregon.

The John Day River is a tributary of the Columbia River, approximately 284 miles (457 km) long, in northeastern Oregon in the United States. Undammed along its entire length, the river is the third longest free-flowing river in the contiguous United States. There is extensive use of its waters for irrigation. Its course furnishes habitat for diverse species, including wild steelhead and Chinook salmon runs.[4][7] However, the steelhead populations are under federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections, and the Chinook salmon have been proposed for such protection.

The river was named for John Day, a member of the Astor Expedition, an overland expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River that left from St. Louis, Missouri, in 1810. Day wandered lost through this part of Oregon in the winter of 1811–1812.[1]

The absence of dams on the river causes its flow to greatly fluctuate throughout the year depending on snowpack and rainfall within the watershed.[8] The highest flow recorded at a gauge on the lower John Day was 43,300 cubic feet per second (1,230 m3/s) on January 2, 1997. The lowest flow was no flow at all, which occurred on September 2, 1966; from August 15 to September 16, 1973; and on nine days in August 1977. The average flow at the gauge is 2,075 cubic feet per second (58.8 m3/s).[6]

Contents

  • Drainage basin 1
  • Recreation and ecosystem 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Works cited 5
  • External links 6

Drainage basin

Through its tributaries, the river drains much of the western side of the paleontological sites along its banks.[5][9] Elevations within the watershed range from 268 feet (82 m) at the river's mouth to more than 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in the Strawberry Mountains.[2][10]

The main branch of the John Day River rises in the Strawberry Mountains in eastern John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

At Kimberly in northwestern Grant County, it is joined from the east by the North Fork John Day River (which had already joined with the Middle Fork John Day River above Monument, Grant County, Oregon). The river then flows west across Wheeler County. At the county line with Jefferson County it flows north, past the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. As it approaches the Columbia River in north-central Oregon it flows in an increasingly meandering course, forming the boundary between Sherman County to the west and Gilliam County to the east.

The John Day River joins the Columbia from the southeast approximately 16 miles (26 km) northeast of Biggs. The mouth of the river is on the narrow Lake Umatilla reservoir, formed on the Columbia by the John Day Dam, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) downstream from the mouth of the John Day.

Recreation and ecosystem

The John Day is navigable by rafts and other small river craft by boaters who obtain permits provided by the BLM.[10] Its lower course is used for irrigation of cropland and ranching.[4] In 1988, the United States Congress designated 147.5 miles (237.4 km) of the river from Service Creek to Tumwater Falls as Wild and Scenic for its recreational opportunities. The segment of the river is a popular destination for anadromous steelhead and warm water bass fishing, as well as whitewater rafting.[13]

In addition to wild spring chinook salmon and bass, the river furnishes habitat for Columbia River redband trout, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat trout.[7][14] There are no hatchery salmon or steelhead released in the John Day River.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Topinka, Lyn. "John Day River, Oregon". Columbia River Images. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Source and mouth elevations derived from Google Earth using GNIS coordinates.
  3. ^ a b "John Day River".  
  4. ^ a b c "John Day River". Oregon Environmental Council. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "John Day Subbasin Plan", p. 18
  6. ^ a b "Water-Data Report 2012: 14048000 John Day River at McDonald Ferry, OR" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "John Day Subbasin Plan", p. 31
  8. ^ "John Day River: Boating General Information". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  9. ^ "John Day Subbasin Plan", p. 201
  10. ^ a b "John Day River". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ United States Geological Survey. "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map: Roberts Creek quadrant". TopoQuest. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  12. ^ United States Geological Survey. "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map: Bourne quadrant". TopoQuest. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ "John Day River, Oregon". National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ "John Day Subbasin Plan", p. 52

Works cited

  • Columbia-Blue Mountain Resource Conservation & Development Area (March 15, 2005). "John Day Subbasin Plan: Revised Draft Plan" (PDF). Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 

External links

  • National Park Service: John Day Wild and Scenic River
  • The Nature Conservancy: Middle Fork John Day River
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