Last Friday, a Jackson County Hearings Officer denied an appeal of a floodplain permit for the removal of Fielder Dam in Evans Creek, a tributary to the Rogue River. Crag Law Center represented the permit applicant, Geos Institute, in defending the permit application against attacks from local opposition. The Fielder Dam removal project is one part of two related projects to restore fish habitat in the Rogue River Basin; Wimer Dam, upstream of Fielder will also be removed. Both dams were ranked by ODFW among the top ten most significant fish passage barriers on Oregon’s 2013 Statewide Fish Passage Priority List. Once completed, the dam removal project will open up approximately 19 miles of fall Chinook habitat, 60 miles for Coho salmon, and 70 miles to summer and winter steelhead.
Geos Institute has been working in partnership with WaterWatch of Oregon, American Rivers, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others to secure removal of the Fielder and Wimer Dams by Fall 2015. Work on the Wimer Dam removal is slated to begin next week. Removal of Fielder Dam will follow now that all necessary permits are in place.