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http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2004/08/30/news/top_stories/atop2.txt

Fish ladder work slower than planned

Employees of Slayden Construction of Stayton set forms for the fish ladder being constructed on the Link River Dam. The ladder will provide a way for endangered suckers and other fish to get around the dam.
   

Published August 30, 2004

By DYLAN DARLING

Construction of a fish ladder at the Link River Dam got off to a slow start this summer, but is picking up speed as the project heads into the fall months.

Crews working on the $3.2 million project fell a couple of weeks behind schedule because of difficulties with putting in a temporary dam and the need for extra excavation, said Cecil Lesley, water and land chief at the Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Falls office.

"They had some initial problems dewatering the site," he said.

The fish ladder is being built adjacent to the outlet of the dam, forcing crews to contend with a constant surge of water flowing from the lake.

To lay the ladder's foundation, workers had to put in a coffer dam, or temporary dam, Lesley said. The Bureau of Reclamation cut back releases from the Link River Dam, but getting the coffer dam in place still proved more difficult than expected.

Furthermore, soil at the site is looser than engineers expected, so workers are having to dig an extra 6 inches to a foot to bedrock, Lesley said.

Slayden Construction of Stayton - the same company that built the $16 million A-Canal headgates - is building the fish ladder. The ladder is designed to provide passage over the dam for trout, endangered suckers and other kinds of fish.

Fish will climb up to 10 feet as they maneuver through the 360-foot course of the ladder.

Lesley said construction workers should have the foundation in by the end of October and then the speed of the work will pick up. The ladder should be completed by the end of the year, he added.

He said it is best if the ladder is done well before next spring's high runoff in case there are any more complications.

"It's not as critical as the A Canal. You don't have a looming date," said Dave Sabo, manager of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

The headgates, started in October 2002, needed to be ready for the start of the irrigation season in April 2003, he said.

 


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