Hundreds of thousands of Pacific lamprey were killed during raids event repairs at Winchester Dam

Winchester Dam is situated on the legendary Wild and Scenic North Umpqua River – the #1 steelhead steam in North America (and some say, in the world).

After the Winchester Water Control District (WWCD) spent $3 million to stop the leaks in the face of the Winchester Dam this summer, the leaks are now exponentially worse than they’ve ever been.

Ryan Beckly, the president of the WWCD and owner of Terra Firma Foundation Systems, the contractor in charge of the dam repair project told the Roseburg News-Review: “There’s never been a salvage effort anywhere comparable to that whatsoever,” Beckley declared in August of 2023. “I’m not trying to paint a picture that we were callous about it or we disregarded it, but we’re spending almost a quarter of a million dollars on fish salvage.”

Contrary to his assertions, Beckley actually perpetrated the biggest fish kill on an Oregon River in 2023. According to the Oregon Water Resource Department, “It was on order of hundreds of thousands of lampreys and by statute that could result in significant financial damages.”

During the August 2023 dam repairs, Beckley’s crew drilled 100 new six-inch holes in the dam face. Witnesses photographed Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) inspectors, working overtime (at taxpayers’ expense) over the Labor Day holiday weekend, repeatedly walking by the obviously leaking six-inch holes in the face of the Winchester Dam and simply ignoring as if they were not there. Suffice to say, the dam now leaks twice as bad as it did before the August 2023 repairs.

It is indeed ironic – one of the primary reasons ODFW granted the Beckley a permit to repair Winchester Dam was to stop the leaks in the dam. These are false attractants to migratory native fish and their presence makes it harder for fish to navigate passage.

Let’s stop them before they do it again. The only thing standing between Douglas County, and economic prosperity is the Winchester Dam.

Bring down the dam.

Bring back the fish and the jobs.