AN AGREEMENT HAS BEEN reached by Portland General Electric (PGE) of Oregon, four US federal agencies, four Oregon agencies, and four conservation groups among others, to decommission the Marmot dam and Little Sandy dam on the Sandy river. The action will improve fish passage conditions for salmon and steelhead.

The Marmot dam will be demolished in 2007, and the Little Sandy dam will go in 2008. Besides improving conditions for salmon, the removal will relieve PGE, owner of the dams, of maintaining low-output generating facilities at high cost. PGE will also transfer 607ha of lands near the dams to a non-profit organisation toward the creation of a 2023.5ha nature reserve.

PGE’s licence to operate the dams, issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), expires on 15 November 2004. PGE said the company plans to notify FERC that it will not seek to renew its operating licence.

The two hydro dams generate about 10MW of electricity, less than 1% of the 2000MW PGE generates.