MONDAY 04-29-2013

Apr 29, 2013 -- 9:13am

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7:10 - "Mr. X", discussing the manufacturing of consent which allows 2000 unelected "stakeholders" to effectively control 4 million people in Oregon. Wondering what's up? A good starting point is The Policy Consensus Initiative, and see that even though global warming theory is trashed and burning out, we're still moving forward with this control of people via state policy. Read The Oregon Global Warming Commission's Interim Road Map to 2020.

8:45 - BUSINESS GUEST - Richard Rogers, American Hearing Aid Systems. Today we talk about his Nu-Ear remote-controlled hearing aid. VERY cool, and Richard has 25+ years experience. Office is 3512 Excel Drive in North Medford (Behind Lowe's/Costco off Delta Waters) Free consultations and more info at 541-772-4365.

8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers "Visiting Past and Present", and here's today topic!

Lost Creek Lake (and Jess Dam)

By Dennis Powers

Bill Jess and his brother began cattle ranching in 1952 near Eagle Point by the Rogue River. A few months later, a flood swept away part of their ranch, although this one wasn’t as bad as previous ones. In 1955, the raging Rogue River again jumped its banks and caused $9 million in damages, including taking away more of Jess’s land.

One month later, a group of 14 people met in Grants Pass to push for dam flood control, and they chose Bill Jess as their chairman. With support from others with this concern--including better water management--the “Rogue Basin Flood Control and Water Resources Association” was formed in February 1956 and later that year became a nonprofit organization. Ben Day was a Valley rancher, attorney, and Oregon legislator (1949 to 1955, first in the House, then in the Senate); he joined and gave needed help to the movement.

Groups such as fishermen, guides, and tourist-based businesses, however, historically opposed dams and especially one on the Rogue River. With assurances that river flows and temperatures would be better controlled to help salmon runs and spawning, some of the opposition dropped. With the potential for more uncontrolled floods, momentum gained in convincing state and federal legislators.

Although Congress approved the dam in 1962, funding wasn’t appropriated until four years later, pushed by the disastrous 1964 flood, the Valley's worst ever in damages.

With more funding delays and time required for surveying, permitting, and planning, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t start construction until 1972.

Located nine miles above Shady Cove and approximately half-way between Crater Lake National Park and Medford, construction was completed in 1977. The dam--345 feet high and 3,600 feet long--is of earth and rock-fill construction with gated spillways on the south end; the outlets and powerhouse with two 26-megawatt generators are located on the north.  

The intake tower controls water releases by a unique technology that allows water temperature regulation by combining lake water from different depths in a mixing chamber before releasing it downstream. This cools the normally warm summer waters of the Rogue in improving conditions for the migrating salmon and steelhead. When part of the lake, the Rogue River still receives water from different streams, including lost Creek from one side and a second Lost Creek tributary from the other.

The Corps of Engineers at the same time built a fish hatchery, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife operates this. The Cole M. Rivers Hatchery (named for a long-time Rogue River biologist) is one of the largest in Oregon and can annually produce 425,000 pounds of chinook and coho salmon, rainbow trout, and steelhead. The upstream barrier dam delivers the water that operates the hatchery, which is also open to the public and built to mitigate fish loss owing to the dam.

The dammed Rogue River created a lake with 315,000 acre feet (674 square miles) that is 10-miles long with a combined shore length of 30 miles. Its surface elevation is from 1,750 to 1,870 feet. Lost Creek Lake has over twenty developed parks that include campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, boat ramps, and fishing/shoreline access points. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains thirty miles of trails that surround the lake.

The river below the dam is popular with summer fishing, rafting, and tubing when the water is relatively warmer. Stewart State Park is along the southern shore, and the Oregon State Parks system operates it with over 200 campsites, a marina, store, café, and other amenities. Casey State Park is located on the Rogue River below the dam.

William Jess died in 1995 and one year later, Oregon Senator Hatfield oversaw a bill the enabled Congress to rename Lost Creek Lake Dam as the “William L. Jess Dam and Intake Structure.” With the removal of dams such as Gold Ray and Savage Rapids, the magnificent Rogue River now flows freely from Lost Creek Lake for 157 miles to the Pacific Ocean.

Sources: US. Army Corp of Engineers, Portland District, “Lost Creek Lake” at Lost Creek Lake and Jess Dam (Including Images); Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, “Cole Rivers Hatchery” at Cole Rivers Hatchery; Miller, Bill. “A River Runs into It,” Mail Tribune, April 14, 2013, at Role of Bill Jess.

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