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Gold Ray Dam Removal Public Meeting

Please attend the meeting and support dam removal

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Tuesday, Aug. 18th, 6:30-8:30pm
Jackson County Public Works Auditorium
7520 Table Rock Road, White City

Gold Ray Dam is a defunct power generating dam, now owned by Jackson County. The dam is a liability to Jackson County and the county is willing to remove it provided funding and needed environmental review will allow the removal to go forward.  Jackson County and Rogue Valley Council of Governments are holding a public meeting on the possible removal of Gold Ray Dam. The meeting will be your opportunity to provide input on the future of Gold Ray Dam.

PLEASE ATTEND THE MEETING AND SUPPORT DAM REMOVAL.  Jackson County just received $5 million in stimulus funds to conduct environmental review and remove the dam.  It is important to keep the momentum for dam removal going. Your support will be helpful.

Some reasons for dam removal are:

1.  Gold Ray Dam is a serious impediment to fish passage at river mile 125 on the mainstem of the Rogue River.  A significant part of all five salmon and steelhead runs on the Rogue River must navigate the dam, including ESA listed coho salmon.  Gold Ray Dam is ranked fifth in priority statewide by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife as needing a solution to fish passage at the dam.  The single ladder at the dam does not meet current standards, has poor attraction flows, and is impassable during certain high flow situations. 

2.  Adult fish are delayed and injured at the dam during their upstream migration thereby reducing spawning success.  There is higher juvenile mortality at the dam and in the reservoir behind the dam than there would be without the dam.  Warm water fish such as bass and crappie are present in the reservoir and prey on juvenile salmon and steelhead. 

3.  At least a mile of upstream chinook salmon spawning habitat is lost because of inundation by the reservoir, and lack of gravel recruitment may impact spawning habitat downstream of the dam.

4.  The dam blocks boat passage.  With Savage Rapids Dam coming out this fall, the removal of Gold Ray Dam will provide 157 miles of free-flowing Rogue River from Lost Creek Dam to the ocean.  With dam removal the public could float from Touvelle Park and take-out downstream of the current dam site.

5.  Dam removal would improve public access to approximately 500 acres of public land upstream of the dam.

6.  Dam removal would enhance and compliment the investment in other river restoration projects in the Rogue Basin (eg. Savage Rapids, Gold Hill and Elk Creek Dam removals).

7.  The Rogue River is one of the last strongholds for salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, and we should do all we can to protect and enhance the fishery.

8.  The dam is a non-operating facility that provides no hydro, no water storage and no flood control.  It is old and is a liability to Jackson County.

The dam's only current function is to count fish.  Though there are no other alternatives that provide the level of information that is provided by the fish counting station, ODFW has made it clear that the loss of the fish counting station is not a reason not to proceed with dam removal.  It is more important to have more fish to count, than it is to have an accurate count.

There are wetlands and important riparian habitat created by the reservoir above the dam that will be diminished with dam removal.  There may be some opposition to removal because of the loss of this habitat and because some people use the reservoir area for bass fishing, duck hunting, canoeing, and nature observation.  A restoration plan will be developed for the reservoir pool to preserve as many of the natural amenities as possible, but the upstream habitat will be altered.  The habitat upstream will return to that associated with a free-flowing riverine system as it once was, and overall public access to the area should improve.