Gold Ray Dam Removed
For 106 years the Gold Ray Dam sat on the mainstem of the Rogue, just upstream from the town of Gold Hill, hindering the migration of native fish. In the early 1970s the hydroelectric dam became obsolete and ownership was transferred to Jackson County. It was considered a liability, so in the 2000s, Freeways for Fish worked alongside Jackson County and many other partner groups to determine the future of the Gold Ray Dam.
Studies conducted by the County justified removing the dam for biological, social, and economic advantages, as well as to reduce the county's liability. The Geos Institute helped Jackson County develop the dam removal plans, secure funding, and oversee the work. The dam was removed in early fall 2010, converting two miles of warm reservoir waters back to free-flowing current. For the first time in over a century, salmon and steelhead could travel unimpeded between the Pacific Ocean and the upper Rogue basin. Moreover, in true "if-you-remove-it-they-will-spawn" fashion, the stretch of river below the former reservoir has reworked itself over the past few years into an important spawning ground for fall Chinook.