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Pacific Northwest Region
Boise, Idaho
Media Contact:
David Walsh
(208) 378-5026
Robert Hamilton
(208) 378-5087

Released On: May 05, 2009

Savage Rapids Dam Removal On Schedule
Demolition and removal of Savage Rapids Dam will remain on schedule despite partial collapse of a temporary coffer dam on the downstream side, according to Don Rosbaugh, Reclamation Construction Engineer in the Pacific Northwest Regional Office.

The coffer dam completed April 27, suffered severe erosion during high river flows on the Rogue River which started around May 3. The incident did not pose a danger to work crews or people downstream.

The damaged portion of the temporary coffer dam was built with geo-textile fabric and river sediments. It was designed to create a dry working environment for crews on the downstream side of the dam.

"The partial collapse of the temporary coffer dam downstream will not stop demolition work. The upstream coffer dam is fully intact and repairs to the downstream coffer dam should not delay the dam removal project," Rosbaugh said. "Fish passage also should not be adversely impacted while the downstream coffer dam is rebuilt in the coming weeks."

As of 1:30 p.m. (PST), Rogue River levels peaked above 11,000 cfs. Reclamation will continue to monitor the coffer dam's stability as river levels recede.

Plans call for the demolition of six bays on the north side of the river this summer. Water will then be diverted through the breached north section of the dam while three additional bays are removed by mid December 2009.

The total estimated project cost is $39.3 million, with $3 million for dam removal provided by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

The Grants Pass Irrigation District constructed Savage Rapids Dam in 1921, to divert water for irrigation. An amended 2001 Federal Court Consent Decree required the District to cease using the dam for water diversions by the end of the 2008 irrigation season. Congress subsequently authorized Reclamation to construct the Savage Rapids Pumping Plant to supply water to the district and to remove the existing dam.

Additional information on project construction can be found by selecting the Savage Rapids Dam Removal update link in the center of the web page at: www.usbr.gov/pn.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.