Two more deadbeat dams are slated for demolition, beginning this summer. Fielder and Wimer dams on Evans Creek, a key spawning tributary in the Rogue River basin, have inhibited fish passage for over 100 years. Sitting derelict the last four decades, breeching both dams will open 70 miles of steelhead and salmon spawning grounds. Federally threatened wild coho are among the fish that use Evans Creek’s spawning grounds.
“Everything’s moving forward well to be able to do the removal this summer,” said Bob Hunter of WaterWatch of Oregon. WaterWatch, American Rivers, and several government agencies will oversee and facilitate the project. Oregon law only allows in-stream projects in wild salmon streams during a summer window between June 15 and August 31 to protect anadromous runs.
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board is expected to approve a $462k project grant. Hiring contractors and securing final permits will commence soon after.