Klamath Dam Removal

Klamath River

Klamath River

Largest U.S. Dam Removal Leads to Largest River Restoration

The removal of four dams on the Klamath River will be the largest U.S. river restoration project implemented to date. CalTrout and 41 other organizations signed the Klamath Agreements in 2010 and we are awaiting Congressional approval. There are two separate but companion agreements which address the terms of dam removal (Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement) and river flows, and habitat restoration and community sustainability (Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, KBRA). The removal of four mainstem dams is being planned for 2020 (all out in 1 year) and already over $40 million is in the bank for the expected $275 million removal cost. The Agreements represent the best opportunity to remove these dams – the dam owner is on board and the fund to remove the dams is growing.

The KBRA has negotiated agreements to balance water flows in a basin-wide, comprehensive way that takes into account all the competing flow needs – threatened coho salmon below Iron Gate Dam, Upper Klamath Lake levels important for endangered suckers, wildlife refuge needs in the Upper Basin, and irrigation deliveries. The KBRA provides relief for the stresses of a limited water supply by providing a more coordinated approach. This entire effort hinges on Congress – they need to act. CalTrout will be issuing several Trout Clout action alerts over the coming months asking you to help by urging Senators Wyden and Feinstein to take a leadership role on the Klamath.

Klamath River's Copco dam

The four lower Klamath River dams have outlived their usefulness

Conservation Goals

  • Increase habitat – by 2020, remove 4 major dams thus opening up over 300 miles of spawning and rearing habitat.
  • Restore salmonid populations to 25% of historic levels (250,000 adult spawning salmon and steelhead).

Recent Accomplishments

  • Continued to build community support in the region directly impacted by dam removal and counter media efforts and misinformation designed to derail the project.
  • Drove PR efforts in major media centers in California, especially San Francisco and Sacramento.
  • Engaged with state and federal legislators and staffers to build critical support required to secure final authorization and budget approval.

What We Will Accomplish

  • Urge Congress to pass two bills that would authorize and fund the Klamath Agreements.
  • Mobilize the CalTrout membership base and our network of partners to prompt federal representatives to take a leadership position on Klamath Agreements.
  • Conduct outreach to Siskiyou County residents and opinion leaders.
  • Advocate for California’s share of funding for dam removal.

Key Partners: American Rivers, Trout Unlimited, Natural Heritage Institute, Friends of the River, Karuk Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Klamath Tribe, Federation of Fly Fishers, numerous federal and state agencies

To see the latest news on Klamath River dam removal and restoration, click here.

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