Friday, March 12, 2010

Support the Removal of Gold Ray Dam

With multiple dams having been removed on the Rogue in the last decade, Gold Ray is the last dam standing in what would otherwise be 157 miles of free flowing Rogue from Lost Creek to the Pacific. Federal stimulus money has been made available for the removal of Gold Ray Dam however policy makers must act quickly to approve removal or the money will be lost. A draft Environmental Assessment is underway on the system and it is critical that the public show support for removing this barrier to fish migration.

Submit comments by March 26th in support of removal.

How to Comment on the Draft EA The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has completed its Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on the removal of Gold Ray Dam. To get the draft EA (titled Project Environmental Assessment – February 2010 DRAFT) and related documents:

Send comments to
E-mail: Please include “Gold Ray Dam Draft EA” in the subject line of the e-mail.

Mail: Send written comments to Gold Ray Dam Project Comments, RVCOG Attn: Pat Foley, P.O. Box 3275, Central Point, OR 97502.

Fax: 541-664-7927. Please identify the fax as regarding “Gold Ray Dam Draft EA.”

Talking Points:

-You support removal of Gold Ray Dam, alternative 1 of the EA.

- The EA is sufficient and shows no significant adverse environmental impacts from dam removal.

-Dam removal would be a huge step in restoring the Rogue River, and would permanently eliminate the harmful impacts of the dam on Rogue River salmon and steelhead, including ESA listed coho salmon.

-The dam is a non-operating facility that provides no hydropower, no water storage and no flood control purpose, and is a liability and public safety concern for Jackson County.

-Rehabilitating the dam and retrofitting it for power generation is not economically feasible or environmentally sound.

-Gold Ray Dam has been identified by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as fifth in priority for removal and/or fish passage improvement on Oregon's Statewide Fish Passage Priority List.

-Dam removal is an important component for restoring safe passage for significant portions of all five runs of Rogue River salmon and steelhead.

-The ecological benefits of dam removal far outweigh the benefits of maintaining the artificial wetlands behind the dam.

-The dam blocks boat passage and limits public access to 500 acres of public land.

-Jackson County should make sure it doesn’t lose the current stimulus funding, and end up sticking county taxpayers with the costs of removal or the even greater costs of trying to upgrade the dam and ladders.

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