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Boise • Irrigators who dream of a $27 million, 108-foot dam on southeastern Idaho's Bear River lost an appeal aimed at allowing their project to proceed.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources announced its decision Thursday against the Twin Lakes Canal Co.

In July, the private canal company was denied a winter water right permit it needed for the dam, prompting its stockholders to ask Idaho regulators to reconsider.

But on Thursday, Water Resources administrator Gary Spackman reiterated the original findings: The proposed application would reduce the quantity of water under existing water rights, conflicting with local public interest.

An environmental group, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, opposed the dam, saying the Oneida Narrows stretch of river slated to be inundated by the hydroelectric project is home to fish species that merit protection.

Opponents have said the dam also could possibly have an impact on northern Utah's Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

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