YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The city of Yakima will begin taking out the Nelson Dam on Monday, following nearly three months of preparation and years of planning.
City of Yakima Water and Irrigation Manager David Brown said the $18.1 million project on the Naches River has seen only a few delays, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.
Contractors expect to complete the project by April 2023. The contract with the city stipulates contractors must be out of the water from Feb. 28 to July 16 to avoid disrupting fish. Fish screens can’t be taken out from April 1 to Oct. 15 to keep water available for irrigation.
Once the dam is removed and replaced with a roughened channel, boaters and all species of fish should be able to move freely along the river for the first time in decades.
After taking out the bridge abutment, contractors dug a new bypass channel on the north side of the dam to help move the river and allow water to rush through.
The dam was built in the 1920s to divert irrigation water for Yakima and the Naches-Cowiche Irrigation Association. The original design did not allow for fish passage.