Klamath Dam Removal?

A historic agreement was reached to demolish four dams on the upper Klamath River. The four dams have cut off 300 miles of fish rearing habitat despite a nearby fish hatchery, the salmon returns have continued to decline.  The fight to remove the dams started in 2002 when water diversion led to the death of 33,000 migrating fish.  PacifiCorp, the dams owner will pay up to $200 million in ratepayer fees for removal, a better price than retrofitting the dams with fish-friendly ladders and other changes.

Taking out the dams will take time, it is expected that after lengthy study and more approvals by the Interior Dept, the demolition work could begin in 2020.  An issue involved in removing the four medium sized dams is the sediment that has backed up for nearly a century behind the dam must be removed so it doesn’t smother existing salmon habitat areas downstream.  California voters will likely be asked to approve a $250 million bond measure to pay for other removal costs.

Klamath river was once the third most productive river after the Columbia and Sacremento Rivers.

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