Notching Elk Creek Dam
For decades, the Elk Creek Dam sat partially constructed and served no useful purpose. The dam's inadequate passage facilities caused major problems for fish in Elk Creek. Historically, an estimated 30% of the Rogue Basin's coho salmon spawned in Elk Creek, alongside populations of Chinook, summer and winter steelhead, and cutthroat trout.
After decades of hard work, WaterWatch, Oregon Wild, and their partners succeeded in getting Elk Creek Dam notched. The notching allows passage of fish past the dam, and the creek has been returned to its original gradient and alignment.
Watch a video of the blast notching the dam!
Notching of the Elk Creek Dam was part of WaterWatch's Free the Rogue campaign, along with the removal of other barriers including Savage Rapids Dam, Gold Hill Diversion Dam, and Gold Ray Dam.
Elk Creek Dam blast to notch the dam, 2008. Photo by WaterWatch of Oregon.
Kayaker passing through the notched Elk Creek Dam, 2009. Photo courtesy of Bill Cross.
Rafters passing through the notched Elk Creek Dam, 2009. Photo courtesy of Bill Cross.