A demolition crew was at work Monday on Cox Creek, jackhammering away at a concrete dam that's been in place since 1932. It's part of a project to restore natural conditions in the lowlands near where Cox Creek empties into the Willamette River.
Last year the Calapooia Watershed Council obtained a $199,000 state grant for the work, planned with the cooperation of the cities of Albany and Millersburg and the ATI Wah Chang metals company. In the first phase, acres of invasive blackberries and reed canary grass were wiped out and replaced last year with plantings of native vegetation.
Now the dam, built by the former Nebergall meat company to store water for firefighting, is being taken out to open up about 1,500 feet along Cox Creek as a wintertime refuge for Willamette River fish including salmon and steelhead. R.L. Reimers Company of Millersburg has the roughly $89,000 contract to remove the dam and do related work in the stream.
Denise Hoffert-Hay, project manager for the watershed council, expects the work to take about a month. If you want to watch, hike or bike along the Cox Creek Path. (hh)