Klamath River Dam Removal

Four dams to come down by 2020

Breaking News 4-6-16

On April 6th, representatives from the States of California and Oregon, the federal government and dam owner PacifiCorp signed an amendment to the historic Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Agreement. The amended KHSA provides a path forward for the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River. At the same time, conservation and fishing groups and agricultural leaders also recommitted to a basin-wide solution for water sharing, water supply infrastructure, and habitat restoration with a new Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement.

Salmon and steelhead will finally have the chance to go home after decades of blocked passage caused by these aging dams. But what’s still unclear is what they will find when they get there. California Trout remains committed to working with all of the settlement parties to support both local economic activity and essential habitat restoration along streams and creeks throughout the Klamath Basin.”

Curtis Knight, Executive Director

At the end of 2015, the Klamath Agreements were not approved by Congress before the end of the legislation session, effectively killing the broadly supported and locally developed package of three separate but coordinated settlement agreements.

The Agreements, hammered out by Indian tribes, ranchers, government agencies, the owner of the dams (PacifiCorp) and environmental groups had been waiting for Congress to act since 2010.  What was at stake was the largest river restoration project in our nation’s history, an unprecedented removal of four hydroelectric dams, and a blueprint for how opponents in a major western water dispute can overcome their differences and find common ground.

After that setback, many stakeholders remained committed to working together to find a solution to water sharing, habitat restoration and dam removal.  In the end, they prevailed.Current Winter 2015

In our Winter 2015 issue of the Current, guest writer Frank Eldredge looked back on how the Klamath Agreements were developed and how a broad diversity of stakeholders came together to ease tensions and solve problems around one of the West’s most contentious water issues.

Long-term Goal

Recover Klamath River salmonid populations by removing 4 dams on the Klamath River (Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2, and JC Boyle) and opening up fish passage to over 400 miles of potential spawning and rearing habitat.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Agreement-in-principle signed February 2, 2016 by the States of Oregon and California, PacifCorp, and the federal government to pursue implementation of dam removal through the FERC administrative process;
    • Agreement signed April 6, 2016 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, PacificCorp, and the states of Oregon and California that following a process administered by the FERC, is expected to remove four dams on the Klamath River by 2020, amounting to one of the largest river restoration efforts in the nation;
    • State and federal officials signed a new, separate agreement with irrigation interests and other parties known as the 2016 Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement (KPFA).

What We Will Achieve in 2016-17

  • Cooperate with all Klamath Basin Stakeholders, Members of Congress, tribes, farmers, and others, to carry forward the new Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and 2016 KPFA;
  • Engage Siskiyou County stakeholders, agricultural operators, landowners, and decision makers in the development and implementation of the KPFA, to ensure protection of livelihoods as a result of new legislation and agreements moving forward;
  • Coordinate with key signatories and stakeholders to file new agreements with FERC on July 1, 2016 for consideration under their established processes, forming a new KRRC to pursue removal through FERC process, and request that FERC hold relicensing in abeyance and instead consider KRRC’s application to surrender license;
  • Coordinate with key signatories the transfer title of the Klamath River dams from PacificCop to a non-federal entity that would assume liability and take the appropriate steps to decommission and remove the dams in 2020;
  • In preparation for dam removal and salmonid recovery in the Mid-Klamath Basin, design and carry out restoration projects on the Shasta and Scott rivers to meet objectives underscored by the California Coho Recovery Plan including flow and habitat restoration, fish passage, and scientific monitoring systems for quantifying salmonid recovery progress.

Mount Shasta / Klamath Region News

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California Trout, Inc.

California Trout, Inc.