Dams on the Klamath River must come down to restore Coho and Chinook salmon runs to their historic spawning grounds. The federal government is currently accepting comments on the Environmental Impact Statement that proposes to commence dam removal in 2023, which includes procedures that would be used to draw down the four reservoirs; remove the dams and associated facilities; restore lands currently occupied by the dams, reservoirs, and other facilities; improve access for salmon to historical and existing habitat; and minimize adverse effects on environmental resources. It is critical that government officials hear from people supporting restoration of the Klamath River. Please take a moment to submit your comments now!
The Klamath River Basin is one of the last strongholds for wild salmon populations on the North Coast and serves as a primary lifeline for tribes, fisheries and river communities. Unfortunately, decades of water mismanagement and outdated dam structures have resulted in toxic conditions that at times are unfit for human contact and are lethal for aquatic species. Since the construction of dams on the Klamath, salmon trying to reach their spawning ground are met with low flows, high water temperatures, toxic algae, and fish killing diseases that are pushing wild Coho and Chinook salmon populations towards the brink of extinction.
The Upper Klamath Basin was once home to spring Chinook salmon, the most prolific fish species in the Klamath system, with over 100,000 fish returning to the river each year to spawn. However, by the early 20th century, springers suffered precipitous declines due to hydraulic mining, logging, diversions and especially from the fish blocking dams on the Klamath. Tribes in the Klamath Basin have suffered both economically and spiritually since the near extirpation of spring Chinook in the Middle and Upper Klamath. Dam removal would reopen vast amounts of good habitat for springers, giving hope and an opportunity to restore historic fish runs and improve the overall health of the Klamath River.
After over a decade of intense negotiations, the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement was struck by dam owner (PacifiCorp), Tribes, non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies. This historic deal allocated funding and laid out a plan to surrender the Lower Klamath project, deconstruct four dams, and restore the Klamath River.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the surrender and decommissioning of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. Comments on the draft EIS must be filed on or before April 18, 2022.
Additionally, comments up to 6,000 characters can be filed at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. Comments sent via the U.S. Postal Service must be addressed to: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket numbers P-14803-001 and P-2082-063.