Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers formally proposed that the 79-year-old concrete Monroe Drop Structure on the Long Tom River be taken down, and 43 acres of natural land around it be restored.
The 85-foot-wide, 9.5-foot-tall building is one of many obstacles that fish must go through on the Long Tom. Low-head dams, also called drop structures, differ from high-head dams like the Detroit and Bonneville.
Low heads slow the river’s speed while high charges control the water flow and do things like make electricity.
During a two-year study, the Corps worked with the City of Monroe and the Tribes of the Siletz. The Corps says the proposal would “enhance the waterway’s connectivity to its historic meandering form.”
Army engineers release plan to remove Monroe Drop Structure on Oregon’s Long Tom River https://t.co/EoYBHiR8X2
— The Register-Guard (@registerguard) June 12, 2023
Army engineers started the Long Tom River Passage Rectification and Improvement Project in 1943 to make the river passage downstream from Fern Ridge Dam able to handle more water. Engineers cleared, straightened, and “armoured” the area with barriers.
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The river used to meander for 36 miles, but now it flows in a deep, straight path for 23 miles. The Monroe, Stroda, and Ferguson drop structures were built and were a vital part of the river’s change from wild and natural to managed and limited.
Army Engineers haven’t said their plans for the future yet, but they say that Monroe has to come down before they can start working on the other two drop structures.