WATCH: Holes Blasted in 100-Year-Old Klamath River Dams During Removal Project

The detonation of a tunnel at the base of the 101-year-old Copco 1 dam on the Klamath River sent water and sediment rushing downstream at a rate of approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second. This dramatic event occurred recently as part of the ongoing dam-removal project on the river.

Footage of the blast, captured by Swiftwater Films, offers a glimpse into the explosive moment and the resulting surge of water as it flowed past the former Copco 2 dam and through the spectacular Wards Canyon, which had been largely dry for a century:

The blast utilized a staggering 800 pounds of dynamite to remove a concrete plug from a 90-foot tunnel that had been created at the base of the dam during the previous summer.

Frankie Myers, the vice chairman of the Yurok Tribe and a candidate for California Assembly’s District 2 seat, captured footage of the newly freed river flowing through Wards Canyon, providing a breathtaking view of the transformed landscape:

The drawdown of the reservoir at J.C. Boyle has commenced as part of the larger effort, with a total of four dams slated for removal by the end of the year. This momentous project not only marks a significant step towards restoring the natural flow of the Klamath River but also signifies a major victory for the 20-year campaign to achieve this ambitious goal.

Swiftwater also captured footage of the J.C. Boyle Dam blast:

This moment underscores the positive environmental impact of the dam removal initiative and the significant progress made in the effort to restore the river’s ecosystem. The complete removal of all three Klamath River dams is anticipated by November 2024, with ongoing restoration endeavors to ensure long-term success. This marks a significant step forward in rejuvenating the Klamath River ecosystem and its surrounding areas.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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