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Fish ladder needs one more piece

 
 
   

Published December 22, 2004

By DYLAN DARLING

Crews working on a new fish ladder at the Link River Dam will take a break later this month while they wait on a final part for the project to arrive.

Work on the $3.2 million ladder is nearly done, but won't be complete until one last part is installed by crane in mid-January, said Cecil Lesley, water and land chief at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Falls office.

"When that is in, it will be ready to rumble," he said.

Construction of the ladder, which started last summer, fell a couple of weeks behind schedule when work crews had trouble keeping water from busting through temporary dams put in to dry out the work site.

The dam problems were solved by August, and the ladder was supposed to be finished by year's end. The crews almost made that mark, but because of the unavailability of a control part of the dam, they will have to wait to finish in January.

Once completed, the 360-foot-long ladder will allow fish - including endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers - to climb the 10 feet needed to get from the Link River to Upper Klamath Lake.

The same construction company, Slayden Construction of Stayton, that built the $16 million A-Canal headgates, is working on the concrete fish ladder.

Built in 1921, the Link River dam already has a fish ladder, which was designed to provide passage for redband trout and installed in 1926. Federal officials deemed the old ladder inadequate for sucker passage.

While the ladder has been under construction, the north half of the Link River Nature Trail has been closed. The section of trail was originally going to open again late this month, but will remain closed until the construction is finished, officials said.

 


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