Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River is coming out!

After years of analysis and negotiation, Gold Ray dam is coming out this summer! Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River is an old hydroelectric dam that has not been used for power generation for several decades, but has been a significant barrier to salmon and steelhead migration on the Rogue River. The Rogue is one of the country’s most iconic Wild and Scenic rivers – it was one of the first eight designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. The river has really important riparian ecosystems and critical habitat for salmon. Other dams on the Rogue have been removed in the past 3 years, including Gold Hill Dam, Elk Creek Dam (notched), and Savage Rapids Dam last year. These removals are essentially part of a larger river restoration effort on the river.

This dam removal will mean that the Rogue River is free-flowing for over 150 miles to the ocean, allowing salmon to reach habitat that was previously inaccessible with the dam in place. WaterWatch of Oregon, who was involved in many of the negotiations over several years for the dam removal, helped secure $5 million in stimulus funding from the NOAA Restoration Center for Jackson County to remove the dam and deconstruction of the dam is now underway.

It’s exciting to see this dam removal taking place, especially since American Rivers has been working on river protection in the lower Rogue which will complement river restoration upstream. We are trying to protect some important salmon-bearing cold-water tributaries to the river in the Wild and Scenic section.