Marmot Dam on Sandy Finally Coming Down [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Marmot Dam on Sandy Finally Coming Down

05-23-2007, 10:11 AM
The Sandy River, which runs just east of Portland, is one of Oregon's most treasured winter Steelhead streams. The Sandy is blocked currently by Marmot Dam, a Portland General Electric power generating facility.

Marmot Dam has been a barrier to migrating fish since the dam was built. While fish could be and were passed over the dam by trapping and transporting them, runs of fish stalled below the dam and the upper reaches were underutilized by spawners. Fairly recently the practice of passing only wild fish above the dam was initiated in the hope that fish spawned above the dam would be all natives to the system.

It's going to cost some $20 million to remove the dam (why so much, I don't have a clue), but PGE figures it would actually lose money in the long run if it were to maintain the dam. There is a huge load of silt built up behind the dam (rock flour from the glaciers on Mount Hood; during the summer, the Sandy looks like country gravy) that will probably take several rain cycles to wash out.

It's taken eight years to get this far -- glad the removal is about to begin.

Here's the story form _The Oregonian_:



05-23-2007, 04:07 PM
Hopefully, it won't take as many years as removing the Elwha dams has taken. The Elwha dams were authorized for removal back in 1995, and their removal has recently been pushed back another 3 years until 2010. Perhaps we will see more of these fish blocking dams taken down. One can hope.

05-23-2007, 08:03 PM
Can someone explain to me why it so EXPENSIVE and time consuming to remove dams? Everything the cost factor comes up, it's in the millions -- often for very small bits of concrete, relatively speaking.

I promise to maintain an open mind about this. Despite predilections to the contrary.

-- Eric