The removal of Marmot Dam on the Sandy River is now complete and the river has been restored. Projects are now underway to enhance the ability of the public to enjoy the river through additional conservation efforts and established public access.
The Sandy River gorge has the feel of a remote river canyon just half an hour from downtown Portland. The gorge walls reveal a textbook of the region's geologic history and ancient trees still line the river. Organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Western Rivers Conservancy have been important community partners in protecting the lands along this river. It was a broad coalition of organizations including American Whitewater that worked with local utility Portland General Electric on a plan to remove Marmot Dam. This dam diverted flows from the river and blocked salmon migration for many decades. American Rivers, Trout Unlimited, and Water Watch of Oregon were key partners helping us work towards our goal of restoring this river.
This Sandy River is a unique treasure for the greater Portland area, and following removal of Marmot Dam in summer 2007 it was restored as one of the most intact river ecosystems in close proximity a major metropolitan area. The agreement to remove the dam and decommission the hydropower project was signed on October 24th, 2002 by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber who supported the dam removal from the beginning, 8 federal and state agencies and 13 organizations. Implementation of the agreement has provided upstream passage for threatened Chinook Salmon, Steelhead and Bull Trout and preserved 5,000 acres of land along 15 miles of river for wildlife and public recreation. The removal of Marmot Dam also extended the boating season of the class III-IV Sandy Gorge by restoring the 400-600 cfs that was diverted for power generation. It also makes a 12.5 mile trip possible all the way from Marmot Bridge to Revenue Bridge without having to portage around the dam.
Key Documents Filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:
The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.
Sultan Relicensing - Sandy River Restoration (OR)
Sandy River Found Navigable! (OR)
Marmot Dam Removal Underway!
Sandy River Dam Removal Film
Sandy River Flows Free!
- Pacific Northwest Dam Removal Fact Sheets 5AUG2007
Fact sheet on dam removals scheduled for the Pacific Northwest.
- Restore: Responsibly Reviving America's Rivers
A Special Publication of the Hydropower Reform Coalition on Dam Removal in the Pacific Northwest.