Gold Ray Dam Project: Removal, Restoration, and Monitoring
Spanning the mainstem of the internationally famous Rogue River at river mile 125.7, Gold Ray Dam was a 38-foot high, 360-foot long, defunct hydroelectric facility. Constructed in 1904, the power house closed permanently in 1972. Jackson County took ownership of the dam and an adjacent 159.7 acres for the development of a recreational park. The dam was a major liability concern for JacksonCounty and a maintenance burden for JacksonCounty taxpayers. Besides the annual maintenance costs, the county faced major costs in repairing and reinforcing the aging structure and improving its fish passage facilities. Gold Ray Dam was identified by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as fifth in priority for removal and/or fish passage improvement on Oregon's Statewide Fish Passage Priority List.
As a result of these conditions, the Jackson County Commissioners voted in May 2010 to remove the dam and in August 2010, the dam was removed. Jackson County received funding from NOAA Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Project Grants (ARRA Federal Stimulus funds) and from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) for dam removal and restoration of the adjacent area.