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Public Input Opposes Oneida Narrows Dam Proposal

Oneida Narrows
The public comment period for the proposal to build the Oneida Narrows Dam.

The Twin Lakes Canal Company has applied to create a 109-ft. hydroelectric dam that would block the flow of water in the last free-flowing stretch of the Bear River.

Dec. 17 is the deadline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to accept public comment before making decisions on the proposal.

Jeff Seamons, conservation chairman of the Franklin County Fish and Game Association, said the creation of a dam in the area would negatively impact quality of life.

“It would be a shame to lose this unique canyon just for the fact that somebody wants to make some money on the water and the resources in the canyon,” Seamons said.  

Seamons said the dam would critically displace and alter the habitat for various species populating the canyon.

Also, because of the close location of the road to the river, Seamons said the canyon is a popular recreation spot.

“It provides white-water boating, fishing opportunities, recreation of all kind,” Seamons said. “Another important aspect of the canyon and the uniqueness of the canyon is the Bonneville cutthroat trout habitat.”

All these positive elements of the area, Seamons said, will disappear if the dam is built.

“There isn’t another location that exists that provides the resources of the Oneida Narrows canyon—through the Bear River’s course in Idaho, and below Oneida development to Willard Utah,” Seamons said.  

Though Wednesday marks the end of the formal comment period for the project, Seamons said non-governmental organizations like the Bear River Watershed Council and Oneida Narrows Organization will continue to fight the creation of the dam.