Klamath River dam removals moving forward for 2021

In August, 2017 youth from multiple Klamath Tribes joined a group of Chilean international exchange students in the "Rios to Rivers" program to learn about the upcoming removal of the four dams on the Klamath River. Here they paddle traditional dugout canoes to a welcome ceremony at the river's mouth near Requa, CA. Photo: Jake Crawford

Update: Klamath River dam removal and opportunities to be involved

Update: The KRRC has recently announced that demolition will occur January - March in 2021. Stay tuned for more updates.

Plans to decommission four outdated hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River (Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2, and J.C. Boyle) look like they are still moving forward for 2021 timeline, which will restore access to over four hundred miles of habitat for wild salmon and steelhead and help revitalize a struggling river and its communities.

Earlier in October, I attended an informational Dam Removal Workshop hosted by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors in Yreka, CA. This meeting included a Q/A with two representatives from the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, the non-profit entity formed to transfer the license from the dams' current owners, PacifiCorp, and manage the project decommissioning.

KRRC’s Executive Director, Mark Bransom and Lester Snow, the Vice President of the organization's Board of Directors provided an overview that suggested plans are moving forward and on track for a 2020 decommissioning, and answered questions from the supervisors related to specific Siskiyou County concerns.

In addition, Alan Mikkelsen the Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation answered questions and suggested that the Trump Administration will not be intervening in the long contentious issue to remove the four dams because it was clear that decommissioning the dams was in the best interest of the PacifiCorp’s customers and the economic benefits associated with the dams’ removal.

Once completed, removing the four lower outdated dams on the Klamath River will be one of the largest environmental restoration actions ever completed, and will be immediately beneficial by improving water quality and restoring access to the river's wild salmon and steelhead to hundreds of miles of critical upstream habitat.

For more information about the benefits of this dam removal for wild salmon and steelhead, visit the Klamath River Renewal Corporation website here.

Upcoming opportunities to be involved

There are two opportunities for those near and far to the Klamath River to show their support for this incredible restoration action:

1. FERC comment period open until November 6th

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is currently accepting public comments regarding the transfer of the lower four dams on the Klamath from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. You can add your name to the list of supporters by going to:

  • Visiting Ferconline.ferc.gov/quickcomment.aspx
  • Add your personal information and set up an account with FERC, follow through with email verification.
  • Enter Docket #P-2082-062
  • Add personal comment that you support the transfer of the license from PacifiCorp to Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

Talking points include:

  • Include Docket # P-2082-062
  • Address your comment to Secretary Kimberley Bose
  • I support the transfer of Hydropower Project license from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.
  • The decommissioning of Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2, and J.C. Boyle dams will be immensely beneficial to struggling wild salmon and steelhead populations, by restoring access to over four hundred miles of critical upstream habitat.
  • Removal of the four hydroelectric dams will also dramatically improve the water quality issues in the river that result from stagnant reservoirs and elevated summer water temperature that contribute to poor water quality conditions and exacerbate fish diseases below the dams.
  • Be sure to thank them for the opportunity to provide comments.

2. Attend a Klamath River Renewal Corporation Open House

The KRRC will be hosting a series of informational meetings on the Klamath River Renewal Project, with an opportunity to learn more about current status, meet staff and representatives of KRRC, ask questions, share perspectives, and stay up to date on KRRC plans and activities.

These meetings are:

Tuesday, November 7th, Klamath Falls, OR
  • Oregon Institute of Technology, 6 – 8PM
  • College Union Building, Room 2001 A/B (Mazama/Scott)
  • 3201 Campus Dr., Klamath Falls, OR
Wednesday, November 8th, Yreka, CA
  • Best Western Miner’s Inn, 6 – 8 PM
  • 122 E. Miner St., Yreka, CA
Thursday, November 9th, Eureka, CA
  • Adornia Center Gymnasium, 6 – 8 PM
  • 1011 Waterfront Dr., Eureka, CA

For more information on these meetings, visit klamathrenewal.org or contact info@klamathrenewal.org

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