The First Klamath River Dam is Officially Down

Copco 2 is the first dam on the Klamath River to be deconstructed in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. Photo: Klamath River Renewal Corporation

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation, overseeing the removal of four hydroelectric dams along the Oregon-California border, has achieved a significant milestone. The first dam, Copco 2, located in Siskiyou County, has been completely removed from the main stem of the Klamath River. Only the headworks of a diversion tunnel remains beside the now freely flowing river.

This achievement marks a crucial step towards the largest dam removal project in U.S. history.

“As little as a month ago, it was a 35-foot concrete dam that spanned the entire width of the Klamath River right there,” said Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

Crews have begun drilling and blasting a 10-foot diameter tunnel through the base of Copco No. 1 dam. Photo: Klamath River Renewal Corporation

The overall project will restore access to 400 miles of fish habitat that has been cut off for over a century. Looking forward to the next phase of this extensive project, the other three dams — Iron Gate, Copco No. 1, and JC Boyle — are scheduled to be removed next year. The process is set to commence with the drawdown of the reservoirs in January of 2024. Following this, the incremental deconstruction of these dams will continue throughout the year, with the entire construction activity expected to conclude sometime in late 2024.

Once completed, the restoration of the Klamath River will have significant environmental benefits, allowing fish to migrate freely, revitalizing ecosystems, and enhancing the overall health of the river. This historic undertaking is a testament to the commitment of those involved in preserving and rejuvenating Northern California’s natural resources.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button