TNT not needed, Whychus dam now gone

September 12, 2014
TNT not needed, Whychus dam now gone

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin

Despite not being blasted with dynamite, the last concrete dam on Whychus Creek was demolished quickly this week south of Sisters.

Heavy construction equipment started pulling Pine Meadow Ranch dam apart Monday, and crews finished the removal Thursday, said Mike Riehle, district fisheries biologist for the Deschutes National Forest’s Sisters Ranger District.

“It turns out that the dam came down quicker than we thought,” he said. “… It only took four days.”

The dam, which diverted irrigation water for nearby Pine Meadow Ranch, was built in the 1980s and sat on national forestland. The owners of the ranch worked with conservation groups and the U.S. Forest Service to devise a way to demolish the dam. The ranch still irrigates 200 acres but now relies on water drawn from an electric pump farther downstream on Whychus Creek.

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An aerial view of a body of water.