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http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2005/01/19/news/top_stories/top2.txt

New fish ladder to smooth suckers' swim  

January 19, 2005 by Dylan Darling, Herald and News

Endangered suckers and other fish trying to get up and over the Link River Dam should have a smooth swim up come spring.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is nearing completion of the $3.2 million fish ladder, and sent a small trickle of water through its gate in a test run Tuesday. The ladder is the second-flattest in the United States with a 10-foot climb over a 300-foot run, officials said.

"The fish don't have to jump - it's sucker friendly," said Dennis Edwards, Bureau construction representative.

Unlike the old-style fish ladder still on the Westside of the Link River, the new ladder doesn't have rungs or steps for the fish to jump in order to get over the dam.

Instead there are a series of 33 baffles that break up the flow of the water cascading from Upper Klamath Lake down the smooth grade to the river, Edwards said. The 11-foot-tall vertical baffles slows the current in the 8-foot-wide channel and give the fish a spot to rest.

Making a long switchback from entry to exit, the fish ladder is 170 feet long, with a 300-foot long channel for the fish navigate on their way over the dam.

Before construction crews complete the project, they will also grade the Link River nature trail and repave the parking lot at the north trailhead. The trail, which has been closed since construction stared in early last summer, should open again in May, Edwards said.

Officials plan to dedicate the ladder in March. It was built by Slayden Construction of Stayton, the same contractor that built the $16-million A Canal headgates.

Tuesday's brief opening of the fish ladder was done by a worker with a hand crank. For every 15 turns of the crank the gate slid up an inch.

Electric motors will be installed in April, completing the project. Once the motors are put in, opening the gate will be less time consuming and arm wrenching.

"All you will have to do is push a button to open the gate," Edwards said.

Officials plan to dedicate the ladder in March. It was built by Slayden Construction of Stayton, the same contractor that built the $16-million A Canal headgates.

Tuesday's brief opening of the fish ladder was done by a worker with a hand crank. For every 15 turns of the crank, the gate slid up an inch.

Electric motors will be installed in April, completing the project. Once the motors are put in, opening the gate will be less time consuming and arm wrenching.

"All you will have to do is push a button to open the gate," Edwards said.

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