PacifiCorp and Warren Buffet have agreed to the full terms of dam removal on the Klamath River, thus clearing aÂ major obstacleÂ in the long, concerted effort toÂ restoreÂ one of Californiaâ€™s largest watersheds.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown,Â as well asÂ representatives of dam owner PacifiCorp, the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced today aÂ Memorandum of AgreementÂ that clears the way for the final steps of Klamath dam removal. It will be the largest dam removal project in the history of the world.
See the full announcement:
â€œItâ€™s great to see the project continuing to move forward,” said California Trout Executive Director Curtis Knight. “Big dam removals take time. Itâ€™s been 20 years since this process of assessing the dams started. Itâ€™s been 100 plus years since Klamath salmon, which tribal communities depend upon, had access to the upper basin. This latest agreement all but paves the way for the largest river restoration project in US history to finally be completed.â€
This agreement comes after the July decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)Â approved the partial transfer of ownershipÂ of the lower four Klamath River dams from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) for the purpose of removal.Â Â Â Removing the Klamath dams will open more than 300 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead. It will also be the first time the Klamath will flow freely in over a century and start the healing process for the watershed and the communities that depend on it.Â
Klamath communities that depend on salmon fisheries for economic and cultural survival have campaigned for years to remove the lower four Klamath dams. The dams provide no irrigation diversions, no drinking water, and almost no flood control benefit. The dams were built for hydropower but managing the aging structures today costs more than theyâ€™re worth.
â€œRural communities including tribal communities throughout the Klamath Basin from to the headwaters to the mouth of the river will benefit from dam removal. At its heart, Klamath Dam removal is a fish restoration project that will benefit all communities in the Klamath Basin including agricultural interests throughout the basin,â€ explains Yurok Vice-Chairman Frankie Myers.