Dam removal wins
Steve Kadel, H&N September 26, 2006
CHILOQUIN - The Chiloquin dam's days are
Members of the Modoc Point Irrigation
District voted to remove the structure,
which blocks passage of endangered Lost
River and short-nosed suckers up the Sprague
The membership vote included 63 “yes”
ballots, authorizing removal, and 23 “no”
ballots. Eighty-six of a possible 102
ballots were cast, with 53 of 67 landowners
taking part in the election.
Ballots were due Friday, and irrigation
district officials met Monday night to
ratify the vote.
The vote means the U.S. Department of the
Interior will pay for removal of the
92-year-old dam. The agency also will pay to
install a new pumping station, and will give
the district a $2.4-million mitigation fund.
That fund will be invested, with interest
used to pay for operation and maintenance of
the pump station.
Irrigation district board member Pete
Bourdet celebrated the vote tally.
"We're excited,” he said. “This is what
we've worked for. I personally have spent
the last two years working on this.”
Bourdet said proponents of
dam removal were confident the vote would go
their way, although he expressed relief that
the issue has finally been decided.
John Richardson, a landowner and member of
the irrigation district, said having federal
funds to do the job was too good a chance to
“Why would you want to be driving a 1932
Ford if you could have a Cadillac?” he said.
“I think it's time for the district to get
into the 21st century.”
irrigation district's secretary, Berniece
“It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to
upgrade the facility,” she said.
officials who studied the dam considered
upgrading fish ladders to help endangered
fish species. However, they decided removing
the dam was the most efficient plan.
Modoc Point Irrigation District officials
will meet with Bureau of Indian Affairs
personnel Oct. 2 to formally sign a document
authorizing the dam's removal. Rep. Greg
Walden, R-Ore., has estimated the cost of
removing the dam and replacing it with a
pump station on the Williamson River at $15
million to $16 million.
the federal timeline, construction of the
new pump station will begin in April 2007.
It is scheduled for completion in June 2008.
Federal officials have said the pump station
must be tested and found to work adequately
before the dam will be removed.