PacifiCorp to Dismantle American Fork Dam

PacifiCorp to Dismantle American Fork Dam

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AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) -- Electric utility PacifiCorp has agreed to tear down the American Fork dam under an agreement with state and federal agencies and Trout Unlimited.

PacifiCorp will dismantle the 96-year-old hydropower dam and surrender water rights to improve habitat for brown and rainbow trout and help Bonneville cutthroat trout recover, company spokesman Kimball Hansen said.

The utility agreed to start work in September 2006 removing the dam and 2.2 miles of pipeline.

The U.S. Forest Service will preserve the 1906 powerhouse, which generates enough electricity for 500 homes, as a historic structure.

"The hydroelectric dam served a great purpose for its time, but now the use of the canyon is changing. It is now primarily a recreation destination," said Loyal Clark, a spokeswoman for the Uinta National Forest District.

The agreement has been submitted for final approval to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The removal of the dam will ensure more consistent flows on American Fork River, said Alan Matheson, spokesman for Trout Unlimited.

"Trout populations will become more robust," he said. "In particular, restoration efforts will open opportunities for the imperiled Bonneville cutthroat trout to expand within this part of its historic range."

The removal of the pipeline will restore the canyon's beauty and stop rock slides caused by pipeline ruptures, which had blocked the river in the past, he said.

Karen Wade of the National Park Service said the agreement will protect the river and restore to more natural conditions the area near Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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