U.S. awards $8.9 million contract to remove Chiloquin Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded an $8.9 million contract to remove Chiloquin Dam, with a goal of reopening 80 miles of fish spawning habitat on southern Oregon’s Sprague River.

BuRec, in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), awarded the contract Feb. 5 to Slayden Construction Group Inc. of Stayton, Ore. It includes construction of a pumping plant on the Williamson River to provide an alternate means for delivering water to the owner of the dam, Modoc Point Irrigation District. (HNN 11/6/06)

The U.S. Indian Service built Chiloquin Dam in 1914 at a site 30 miles north of Klamath Falls to divert water to the Klamath Indian Reservation. Ownership of the 11-foot-tall, 220-foot-long dam was transferred to the irrigation district in 1973.

The contractor is expected to mobilize in May to start on-site work. The pumping plant is to be constructed from July to December 2007, and the dam removed from July 2008 to December 2008, BuRec said.

BuRec called the award a major step toward recovering endangered fish in the Klamath Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also called the action noteworthy.

�Restoring access to this habitat on a tributary above Upper Klamath Lake will enable the endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers to migrate upstream to historical spawning areas in the Sprague River watershed,� Steve Thompson, manager of FWS’ California-Nevada Operations Office, said. �This is a significant step in helping to restore the traditional fishery for the Klamath Indian Tribes, which have reserved fishing rights in the area.�

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