Between 2008 and 2010, three dams were removed from the main stem of the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon, opening up 157 miles of free-flowing river leading to the Pacific Ocean. The Gold Ray Dam in Jackson County was the last of the dams to be removed.
Klamath Bird Observatory has been monitoring birds that live along the river corridor, like Yellow Warbler and Song Sparrow, as part of a collaborative effort to assess the effects of the removal of the Gold Ray Dam. This work also evaluates the extent to which re-vegetation efforts provide suitable wildlife habitat along the river corridor. Dam removals are becoming increasingly common, and KBO’s results will help inform restoration efforts that follow future dam removals.
Jaime Stephens, Klamath Bird Observatory Science Director, was interviewed for the article “After the Flood,” which appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Earth Island Journal. Jaime provided comments on how bird monitoring is a cost-effective practice that can shed light on the ecological effects of dam removals. The article investigates the Gold Ray Dam removal in order to discuss the ecological, social, and economic issues related to dam removals in general. Click here to access the full article.