Project Name

Stearns Dam Removal (UPDATED)

Dam Removal and Restoration
Client / Agency
Crooked River Watershed Council, American Rivers, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Prineville, Oregon
2012 – 2013
Project Description
River Design Group was commissioned by the Crooked River Watershed Council (CRWC) to provide design, permitting assistance, and construction oversight of the Stearns Dam Removal on the Crooked River. The existing dam was first constructed in the early 1900s as a timber crib structure and was later rebuilt as a concrete structure in 1934. The concrete dam spanned the Crooked River with a length of 150 feet and a height of 6 feet.

A two-step deconstruction plan was developed that consisted of isolating a small portion of the dam and removing it to allow for a river bypass through the opening. After the river was diverted through the bypass channel, the left portion of the dam was removed to restore the river to natural flow conditions. The entire project was finished ahead of schedule and under budget while restoring unhindered, natural fish passage.
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Project Images

View of Stearns Dam showing conditions prior to project implementation.
RDG field crew performs a discharge measurement at the weir crest to determine river flow conditions.
View of bypass notch in concrete dam structure to lower reservoir.
View of fish salvage efforts in the upstream area of the reservoir during drawdown.
View of Crooked River after removal of the Stearns Dam showing unhindered fish passage.
View of Crooked River after removal of the Stearns Dam showing unhindered fish passage.
Water being diverted around a portion of Stearns Dam that has been removed.

Related Videos

Century-old dam comes out of Crooked River . Work has begun on the Stearns Dam removal on the Crooked River to improve the reach of salmon runs. Read story
Stearns Irrigation Dam Removal on the Crooked River - Prineville, Oregon. Overview and removal of Stearns Irrigation Dam on the Crooked River near Prineville, Oregon.
The Deconstruction of Stearns Dam.