In cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), USBR awarded the contract on 5 February to Slayden Construction Group of Stayton, Oregon. As well as dam removal, the contract will also involve the construction of a new pumping plant on the Williamson river to provide an alternate means to deliver irrigation water to the Modoc Point Irrigation District, current owners of the dam.

Chiloquin dam, which is 67m wide and 3.4m high, is located on the Sprague river about 48km north of Klamath Falls, Oregon. The dam was built by the U.S. Indian Service in 1914 to divert water for use by the Modoc Point Unit of the Klamath Indian Reservation. Ownership of the dam was transferred to the Modoc Point Irrigation District in 1973.

In June 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion supporting BIA’s proposal to remove the dam. In September 2005, the BIA completed an Environmental Assessment which analyzed the environmental impacts of the various alternatives.

BIA’s proposed construction schedule will be carried out over two years. During the first phase, the new pumping plant will be constructed from July to December 2007. During the second phase, the dam will be removed from July 2008 to December 2008.

The contractor is expected to start on-site mobilisation in May 2007. Under an agreement, USBR will serve as the contracting entity and provide construction management services to BIA.

‘Restoring access to this habitat on a tributary above Upper Klamath Lake will enable the endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers to migrate upstream to historical spawning areas in the Sprague River watershed,’ said Steve Thompson, Manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California/Nevada Operations Office. ‘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.’