Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt frames an eloquent essay about the “dawning” of the age of dam removal on the Patagonia site, noting that:
In the space of two decades, dam removal has evolved from a novelty to an accepted means of river restoration. Most importantly, the concept has taken root in hundreds of local communities as residents rediscover their rivers, their history, and the potential not only to restore natural systems, but, in the process, to renew their communities as well.
Only a couple decades ago dams were being built simply because they could be built. In what amounts to an astonishing shift, the more damaging (and least useful) among them are now coming down, and we’d like to count the four lower Klamath River dams among them.
With the removal of the Klamath River dams still very much up in the air, it’s clear dam removal isn’t easy or universally embraced, but as a restoration strategy it has worked and worked well, and will work again if given half a chance, as the science says it will on the Klamath River.
If 400+ miles of steelhead habitat are opened up to the ocean, California’s anglers could conceivably enjoy one of the best steelhead fisheries in the lower 48 — right in their own back yard.
Later in the article Babbitt was asked about other candidates for dam removal. He mentioned the four Snake River dams, and we hope that one day the Klamath River’s dams make that list.
Regardless, CalTrout continues to fight for Klamath dam removal and restoration of the Klamath river. We’ll keep you posted.
I enjoyed the above piece and the references. Another reference which would be useful to include is to the recently published anthology of excellent environmental pieces entitled Open Spaces: Voices from the Northwest ( U.Wash. Press) The book has not only a fine essay by Sec. Babbitt on “America’s evolving view of Dams,” but also a piece by Ed Sheets, mediator for the Klamath agreement , on the Klamath Basin Settlement. The book is available from Amazon as paperback and kindle.