The Campaign to Remove Winchester, Murphy, and Charley Dams

Photo: Jim McCarthy
The Campaign to Remove Winchester, Murphy, and Charley Dams
WaterWatch of Oregon

The Winchester, Murphy, and Charley dams are highly ranked privately owned fish passage priorities in Oregon. None provide hydropower, flood control, or other public benefits. These dams harm multiple runs of migratory and resident fish, including spring and fall chinook salmon, Endangered Species Act listed coho salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, Pacific Lamprey, and suckers. The Umpqua and Rogue rivers support important recreational economies as well as first foods and cultures of tribal peoples. River recreation would also benefit through the removal of the dams by eliminating navigation hazards and opening up access on these rivers.

WaterWatch of Oregon identifies high priority fish passage barriers using the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife statewide priority list. After identifying the parties that own or control the barriers, WaterWatch offers to remove the dam at no cost and eliminate what may be significant liabilities for the owner, in return for access, an agreement to remove the dam, and cooperation in the removal process. When necessary, WaterWatch uses leveraged negotiation and litigation. These will employ these strategies to remove the Winchester, Murphy, and Charley dams by 2026.