Free the Rogue River
The Rogue River is one of the nation’s most beloved waterways. One of twelve original Wild and Scenic Rivers recognized by Congress in 1968, people travel from all over the world to experience this amazing place.
The Rogue Basin historically produced the most wild salmon and steelhead in Oregon outside the Columbia Basin. However, coho salmon are now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and spring chinook and steelhead are declining.
To reverse this trend, WaterWatch has worked for decades to remove significant fish barriers and improve flows to benefit the Rogue’s fish populations while enhancing fishing and recreational opportunities. Our staff were instrumental to agreements behind the recent removal of four Rogue Basin dams and the largest instream water transfer in the Rogue’s history. Combined, these achievements represent one of the most substantial dam removal and river restoration efforts undertaken in the United States. Even so, much work remains to protect this incredible resource, and WaterWatch remains a leader in continuing Rogue River restoration efforts.
Fielder and Wimer Dam Removals – Done!
Gold Hill Irrigation District Fish Passage Improvement Project – Done!
This project benefits spring and fall chinook salmon, summer and winter steelhead, coho salmon, cutthroat trout, and lamprey. The changes in the diversion system, which were completed in autumn 2016, will also increase flows in a ¼-mile stretch of the Rogue River, improving navigation through Nugget Falls, and allow for safer public access to the river.
To learn more about how WaterWatch achieved its goal of freeing the lower 157 miles of the Rogue River and restoring streamflows, watch our Free the Rogue campaign video:
The Rogue dam removals are expected to provide a boost to the river’s coho salmon, and augment runs of spring and fall chinook salmon, summer and winter steelhead, resident cutthroat trout, and Pacific lamprey. For detail on how the four dams were removed and the benefits to the basin and the region, check out our pages on: