February 27, 2019
In 1972 the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contracted with the people of the State of Oregon to mitigate the loss of Spring Chinook habitat due to the Lost Creek Dam project by constructing the Cole River Hatchery. Part of that contract mandated 13,020 Spring Chinook adults, per year, return to the Cole M. Rivers Hatchery. The contract specified the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) was to achieve those mitigation results for the blocked habitat. Curry County alleges, and ODFW has agreed, that ODFW failed to meet the mandated mitigation numbers.
The negative impact to the health and sustainability of this historically important regional fish population and fishery has been significant, and, to date restoration and mitigation efforts have shown to be vastly insufficient and rely on harvest curtailments, not habitat or mitigation needs. It is estimated the failure to fulfill the contractual obligations has resulted in approximately an annual $15 million in lost economic opportunity and $260 million dollars over the last 20 years. (See Exhibit A)
The Curry County Board of Commissioners, and the Josephine County Board of Commissioners, issue this Statement of No Confidence in the Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to fulfill their contractual obligations to mitigate impacts of the Lost Creek Dam Project. The counties demand contractual obligations be satisfied, specifically: