Corps of Engineers to Build Island in Malheur Lake to Lure
by Quinton Smith
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to build a 1-acre rock and sand island in Southeast Oregon's Malheur Lake to help attract more salmon-eating Caspian terns away from the mouth of the Columbia River.
It would be the seventh such lake the corps has built in Oregon and northern California in a 5-year effort to shrink the world's largest breeding colony of terns on East Sand Island. Each spring and summer thousands of terns - and now a growing number of cormorants - nesting on the 62-acre island eat millions of endangered salmon and steelhead smolts migrating to sea.
The newest island would be about a half-mile from shore near the mouth of the Blitzen River. The corps hopes to hire a contractor this fall, with completion before next spring's breeding season. Because the project has not been put out to bid, the corps would say only that the construction using barges, tugboats and 40,000 cubic yards of material should cost from $1 million to $5 million.
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