Hearing (again) on notching of Elk Creek Dam

A plan to create permanent passage for fish through the Elk Creek Dam is moving forward, according to an announcement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  last Friday.
The Corps proposes to construct a fish passage corridor through the dam and return Elk Creek to its original alignment and gradient. This will help support the continued existence of Coho salmon, listed as threatened by the Endangered Species Act, and other native fish.
A meeting will be held with the Corps on Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Red Lion, 200 N. Riverside, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Elk Creek Dam is located on Elk Creek, 1.7 miles above the
confluence with the Rogue River and about 26.5 miles northeast of
Medford,  in Jackson County.
The Corps previously determined that
removing a section of the dam (creating a "notch") to provide passage
is the most cost-effective and biologically-sound method to provide
fish passage over the long term. The plan, originally proposed by the
Corps in 1997 and now moving forward, includes removal of a portion of
the concrete dam and spillway and realignment of about 5,000 feet of
Elk Creek to its original alignment and gradient.
"This plan
solves the fish passage issue with a biologically-sound, long term
plan," said Col. Thomas O’Donovan, Portland District Engineer.
"Reliance on the temporary fish trap and haul facility is no longer an
option since its continued use presents a risk to Coho salmon in Elk
The Corps is designing this project so as not to prevent future completion of the dam.
fish passage work here will be designed to preserve the majority of the
federal investment should future generations decide on the final
disposition of the project," said O’Donovan. "The Corps has no current
plans to complete construction of Elk Creek Dam."
Last week
the Corps issued a Supplemental Environmental Assessment which
addresses the environmental impacts associated with this plan. It
provides information to supplement and update the previous
Environmental Assessment completed in 1998.
Supplemental Environmental Assessment is now available for public
review and comment through Nov. 5. The document and the public notice
are available on the Corps’ Web site at
Corps will host the Oct. 25 open house to provide more information on
the proposed project and answer questions from the interested public.
At this meeting, the Corps also will accept written comments on the
draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment.

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