The deconstruction of the Klamath River dams is already underway, but that isn’t stopping the current run of Chinook salmon from attempting to reach their ancestral spawning grounds.
A lot has been written about the deconstruction of the Klamath River dams and how it will immediately return the once illustrious salmon runs to the waterway. But seeing the current impact of the dams may be more impactful.
A video was posted to the @shastariversteward Instagram page showing BIG Chinook salmon trying to jump into a drainage pipe near the Irongate Dam. It not only shows just how dedicated salmon runs can be to reaching their ancestral spawning grounds, but how the removal of the dams can make a massive impact on these beautiful creatures. Take a look:
Opposition voices to the Klamath dam removal project are growing quiet as people begin to realize the dams are causing more harm than good. The removal is already underway and it will completely revitalize a river that is wildly underrated for its beauty and tourism opportunities in California’s Far North.
The argument behind removing dams is nuanced. There are well over 1,000 dams in California, some more than a century old. Most dams were erected to establish critical water supply, but also for hydroelectric power generation and flood control. If Shasta and Keswick Dams in Shasta County were removed, towns like Redding could literally be washed away during spring flooding season.
But the Klamath Dams were built specifically for the purpose of generating electricity, a practice that has since been modernized by more efficient energy providers. The dams provide no irrigation diversions, no drinking water, and almost no flood control benefit. Managing the aging structures today costs more than they’re worth.
When the removal of the dams occur, the revival of the watershed will be immediate, with fish passages making way to the restructuring of the area due to sediment flushing. It will create an outdoor utopia not seen in the area for over 100 years.