Savage Rapids Dam Removal Frees Rogue River

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

For Release: October 08, 2009

The radial gates at Savage Rapids Dam will be slowly closed on October 9, causing the Rogue River to flow through a pilot channel where the cofferdams once stood, thereby returning the Rogue to its historic channel for the first time since 1921.

This will result in increased turbidity and release sediment that had been trapped behind the recently removed sections of dam. The river will likely be discolored for a period of time as the sediment, which is comprised primarily of sand, gravel, and rocks, is eventually eroded by the natural flows.

The timing for the breaching coincides with the end of the upstream migration of Chinook salmon and the end of the irrigation season, and precedes the start of the migration season for Endangered Species Act-listed Coho salmon.

Recreationists on the river are advised to exercise caution and stay clear of the construction area as the river channel will be unstable during the initial erosion period. Motorists in the area should be prepared for some roadway congestion and watch for pedestrians and construction traffic 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.

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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