After several weeks of removal and restoration work, Oregon's Crooked river is flowing more freely than it has in over a century. In late October, crews from the River Design Group began removal of the Stearns Dam, which was built in 1911 by homesteader Sidney Stearns in order to divert water for pasture irrigation. Now complete, the project is the culmination of 10 years of planning and negotiation.
As a result of the dams removal, steelhead and salmon migrating upriver from the Pacific Ocean as well as resident trout now have access to an additional 12 miles of the Crooked River. The Stearns Dam removal is one of several projects planned or being explored -- including creating passage at the Rice-Baldwin dam a mile downstream of the former Stearns dam site -- that would serve to restore the native runs of these fish.
Scott Wright, of the river design group, captured the images above as well as those below. The photos illustrate the work in progress as well as providing a stunning view of the free-flowing Crooked after the project's completion.