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Press Release: Bureau of Reclamation

Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, CA

February 6, 2007

Klamath Basin Dam Removal Will Restore Habitat for Endangered Fish

In a major step toward recovering endangered fish in the Klamath Basin, Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a nearly $9 million contract to remove Chiloquin Dam, which would open 80 miles of spawning habitat on the Sprague River in southern Oregon.

“In cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Reclamation awarded the contact to the Slayden Construction Group of Stayton, Oregon, on February 5, 2007,” said Kirk Rodgers, Regional Director of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. “The removal of Chiloquin Dam and construction of a new pumping plant for delivery of irrigation water represents another major milestone in President Bush’s commitment to Klamath Basin restoration.”
“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,” said Steve Thompson, Manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California/Nevada Operations Office.  “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.”

Chiloquin Dam, 220 feet wide and 11 feet high, is located on the Sprague River about 30 miles north of Klamath Falls, Oregon.  The dam was built by the U.S. Indian Service in 1914 to divert water for use by the Modoc Point Unit of the Klamath Indian Reservation.  Ownership of the dam was transferred to the Modoc Point Irrigation District in 1973. 

The project will also construct a new pumping plant on the Williamson River to provide an alternate means to deliver irrigation water to the Modoc Point Irrigation District.

In June 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion supporting the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ proposal to remove the dam.  In September 2005, the BIA completed an Environmental Assessment which analyzed the environmental impacts of the various alternatives.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ proposed construction schedule will be carried out over 2 years.  During the first phase, the new pumping plant will be constructed from July to December 2007.  During the second phase, the dam will be removed from July 2008 to December 2008. 

The contractor is expected to start on-site mobilization in May 2007.  Under an agreement, Reclamation will serve as the contracting entity and provide construction management services to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States.  Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.  Visit our website at http://www.usbr.gov.
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