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DETROIT, Ore. (AP) — A $100 million-plus project to improve conditions for endangered fish could mean emptying a lake east of Salem for one or two years.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to build a 300-foot (91-meter) tower and floating screen at the dam on Detroit Lake to improve water temperature and fish passage for salmon and steelhead in the North Santiam River, the Salem Statesman Journal reported .

But the $100 to $250 million project could impact water supply in Salem and Stayton, for farmland irrigation, and to the economies of Detroit and the Santiam Canyon from the loss of recreation at the popular reservoir.

“In the long-term, this project has a lot of positives, from a healthier environment for fish to better operation of the dam,” Marion County commissioner Kevin Cameron said. “But there is a huge risk in the short-term.”

The project aims to preserve native fish while maintaining the benefits of dams and reservoirs.

The project still needs to go through multiple planning phases before construction is scheduled for 2021.

“The big decisions have not yet been determined — this is a first step,” Corps spokesman Tom Conning said. “That’s why we’re asking for input from the community.”

The Corps is accepting public comment on the project until Jan. 23.


Information from: Statesman Journal,