Rogue River salmon and steelhead will begin migrating over the Savage Rapids Dam fish ladder late Monday for the last time as construction crews prepare for removing the 88-year-old dam.

Rogue River salmon and steelhead will begin migrating over the Savage Rapids Dam fish ladder late Monday for the last time as construction crews prepare for removing the 88-year-old dam.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that the two primary coffer dams essential for removing the dam will be finished by Monday.

The coffer dams will allow the contractor, Slayden Construction Group, to slowly close the radial gates and raise the water surface behind the dam. That will return water flows to the fish ladder, which has been dry since April 7.

The coffer dams create the dry working environment construction crews need to begin demolishing the dam's north side.

Plans call for removing the coffer dams and diverting the river through the breached section of the dam by October.

Removal of two additional chunks of the dam's south end were scheduled to be done by mid-December, ending the $39.3 million effort to rid the Rogue of its single biggest fish-killer.

The dam will be replaced by an already completed electric pumping station ready to begin water-delivery for the Grants Pass Irrigation District when its irrigation season begins in mid-May.

— Mark Freeman