The same year STEP was legislated and the Tenmile, Coos and Coquille District established, a young, forward-thinking biologist fresh out of Oregon State University was hired by the Department of Fish & Wildlife to administer this program.  Tom Rumreich, with his vision and energy, immediately began working on the goals of STEP:

  • Rehabilitate and improve natural habitat and native fish stocks.
  • Insure that the harvest does not exceed fish population’s reproductive capability.
  • Provide for citizen volunteer participation to achieve the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish management objectives.
  • Create and support public education regarding fisheries.


The Rumreich Hatchery on Morgan Creek is just one of his many accomplishments.  Through Tom’s tutelage, the Millicoma Interpretive Center and Noble Creek Hatchery were also constructed.  He, in cooperation with the Eel-Tenmile STEP group, constructed a capture/release facility on Eel Lake.  Over many years, sometimes by trial and error, this biologist has successfully completed several other ongoing projects. 

Some examples in the educational area include a capture and release site at Coquille High School, an acclimation pond next to Blossom Gulch Elementary School, and one on Pony Slough next to North Bend High School.  There are many other ongoing projects using private as well as public lands and facilities.  Though some have been discontinued, all begun as dreams of Biologist Tom Rumreich.

A closer look at such success is at the Millicoma Interpretive Center and Pond, a “hands-on” fish hatchery, but one where part of the year students can actually go trout fishing!  Primary use of this location is as an educational facility to teach the salmon life cycle, and the maintenance of stream habitat.  The site also serves as an acclamation site for the hatchery fish on the West Fork Millicoma River, and as a native steelhead brood stock development site which visitors are welcome to visit.  Contact the caretaker for a scheduled visit.

Coos County S.T.E.P.

Tom Rumreich