Work toward notching half-built Elk Creek Dam could begin as early as next month as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moves forward with plans to open fish passage at the abandoned structure along an upper Rogue River tributary.

Work toward notching half-built Elk Creek Dam could begin as early as next month as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moves forward with plans to open fish passage at the abandoned structure along an upper Rogue River tributary.

Corps officials expect to award a contract within the next two weeks to a construction company to design and create the notch in the dam's base and restore the creek bed at the site that has sat idle since 1987.

The Corps today released its final environmental study that concludes notching the dam is the best and least expensive long-term way to allow wild salmon and steelhead to swim unimpeded past the dam 1.7 miles from Elk Creek's confluence with the Rogue.

Corps spokesman Scott Clemans said this morning that Corps engineers are studying bids for the design and construction of the notch, and plans are to award that bid later this month or early in February.

Clemans said preparation work could begin almost immediately, with the bulk of the notching done after June 15, the date in which in-stream work can begin in Oregon's salmon streams.

The environmental assessment and other information is available on the Corps Web site at https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/pm/e/en_plan_assess.asp.

— Mark Freeman