Brief Discoloration May Appear Below Savage Rapids Dam

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Robert Hamilton, (208) 378-5087

For Release: September 30, 2009

The Rogue River may be slightly discolored for a short period of time when the radial gates at Savage Rapids Dam are slowly opened on October 2 to drain the small reservoir immediately upstream of the dam. This action is the first step towards breaching the coffer dams constructed to allow removal of the right side of the dam located about 5 miles from Grants Pass, Ore.

Recreationists on the river are advised to exercise caution and to stay clear of the construction area. Motorists in the area should be prepared for some roadway congestion and to watch for pedestrian traffic as heavy equipment enters and exits the construction site at Foothill Boulevard and Highway 99.

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:

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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