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Contractor picked to remove Chiloquin Dam
Herald and News 2/7/07

PORTLAND (AP) — A contractor has been chosen to remove the Chiloquin Dam to open up spawning habitat for endangered suckers in Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that Slayden Construction Group of Stayton, was awarded the $9 million contract to remove the dam, an irrigation diversion built in 1914 on the Sprague River outside the town of Chiloquin. The 11-foot-high dam is scheduled to be removed by the end of 2008. It is to be replaced by pumps to serve the Modoc Point Irrigation District.

‘‘This is a significant step in helping to restore the traditional fishery for the Klamath Indian Tribes, which have reserved fishing rights in the area,’’ said Steve Thompson, head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service California-Nevada office.

Besides being protected by the Endangered Species Act, the suckers are a traditional food for the Klamath Tribes, who conduct a ceremony each year near the dam to welcome the spawning run of the fish.

In 2001, drought conditions forced the shut-off of water to farms on the Klamath Reclamation Project in an effort to maintain water for endangered suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and threatened coho salmon in the Klamath River, triggering conflicts between the tribes and farmers.

The National Research Council suggested removing the dam in 2003 as one way of boosting numbers of Lost River suckers and shortnosed suckers. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service threw their support behind the project.


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