LA GRANDE – Canyon Creek Meadows Dam will be evaluated to determine whether the dam should be repaired or removed with funding from the “Go Oregon Plan”. The plan is a state stimulus plan passed by the 2009 Oregon Legislature authorizing $175 million in bonding to fund projects that will make needed repairs to schools, colleges, transportation infrastructure and address deferred maintenance projects across the state. The projects will create jobs for Oregonians at a time when the unemployment rate continues to climb. It will provide jobs to families and get Oregon’s economy moving.
One of the projects is The Canyon Creek Meadows Dam Evaluation Project. Funding in the amount of $200,000 was allocated to evaluate the existing dam and related issues, to determine whether to repair or to remove the dam and to prepare design drawings and specifications for the construction project, including habitat restoration. No funding for construction for repairs or removal of the dam has been committed.
Canyon Creek Meadows Dam is a rock fill dam with a drain pipe and a spillway located on Canyon Creek, a tributary of the John Day River. Southeast of John Day, the dam is situated at about 5,000 feet elevation on the southwest slope of the Strawberry Mountains on US Forest Service land, but is owned and operated by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).
Construction of the dam began in 1962 and was completed in October of 1963. Shortly after the project was completed, it became apparent that significant leakage was occurring through the left abutment. Repairs were made in 1966 but the leakage continued. In 1983, the spillway was modified and the crest of the dam was raised. Because of concerns regarding dam stability and leakage, the outlet valve has been locked open since 1997.
“The Department is concerned about the potential of the reservoir filling and a catastrophic failure of the dam occurring. Two attempts have been made to repair the dam without success”, said Craig Ely, ODFW’s Northeast Region Manager. “With the assistance of the Go-Oregon funds, we can make a decision about future management of the dam”, he added.
The Request For Proposals (RFP) for the project was advertised on March 30 with an April 16 deadline for the submission of proposals. The project will be awarded to the selected consultant by May 1, 2009.
The consultant will work with ODFW to evaluate the existing conditions and recommend repair or removal of the dam. They’ll prepare design documents for that work including a written estimate of probable construction costs for the project. Funding for construction is not part of the evaluation project and no money has been allocated for any construction at the dam.
A public outreach process is included throughout the project. Three public meetings will be held in John Day. The initial meeting will describe the project and collect comments. At the second meeting the result of the report will be presented and comments will be collected. The final meeting will inform the public of the recommended solution and collect comments.