Say goodbye to the Savage Rapids Dam
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NEAR GRANTS PASS, Ore. – A big demolition project is under way in southern Oregon to try to get a river to flow free again.
Savage Rapids Dam, located 107 miles from the ocean, is the first man-made obstacle that salmon and steelhead face on their way to spawning grounds on the Rogue River.
Crews used a giant jackhammer this week to punch holes in the north half of the dam, which has long been considered the single biggest fish killer on the Rogue River.
However, even though most experts say removing the dam will be a great benefit for salmon and recreation, locals aren’t so sure.
“It’s kind of sad in a way,” said Colin Dixon, a Grants Pass resident. “I grew up around here and I spent a considerable amount of time playing down here.”
“The fish have been doing it for all these years and getting away with it and now they’re tearing it down,” said Rick Patton, who opposes the dam removal. “It just don’t seem right. They should have left it alone.”
The dam’s only purpose was irrigation and new pumps are taking care of that job now. The entire dam should be gone by the end of the year.