US approves largest dam removal in history to save endangered salmon | Rivers | The Guardian

  

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Via:  kavika  •  2 weeks ago  •  20 comments

By:   the Guardian

US approves largest dam removal in history to save endangered salmon | Rivers | The Guardian
Four dams on California-Oregon border to be decommissioned on Klamath River, which fish use to reach spawning grounds

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Four dams on California-Oregon border to be decommissioned on Klamath River, which fish use to reach spawning grounds

The Klamath River just below Iron Gate Dam in Siskiyou County, California. Photograph: Travis VanZant/AP The Klamath River just below Iron Gate Dam in Siskiyou County, California. Photograph: Travis VanZant/AP

A US agency seeking to restore habitat for endangered fish gave final approval on Thursday to decommission four dams straddling the California-Oregon border, the largest dam removal undertaking in US history.

Dam removal is expected to improve the health of the Klamath River, the route that Chinook salmon and endangered coho salmon take from the Pacific Ocean to their upstream spawning grounds, and from where the young fish return to the sea.

'We're dwindling like the salmon': the Indigenous nations fighting for water rights Read more

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order surrendering the dam licenses and approving removal of the dams.

The project has long been a goal of several Native tribes whose ancestors have lived off the salmon for centuries but whose way of life was disrupted by European settlement and the demand for rural electrification in the 20th century.

"The Klamath salmon are coming home," Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok tribe, said in a statement. "The people have earned this victory and with it, we carry on our sacred duty to the fish that have sustained our people since the beginning of time."

Climate change and drought have also stressed the salmon habitat; the river has become too warm and too full of parasites for many fish to survive.

The dams on federal land, which at full capacity provide enough electricity for 70,000 homes, will be surrendered by the power utility PacifiCorp, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Faced with costly new regulations that included building fish screens and ladders, the company instead entered an agreement with the tribes and the US government to decommission the dams.

PacifiCorp is contributing $200m toward dam removal, paid for by a surcharge on its customers in Oregon and California, said Bob Gravely, a company spokesperson, and California voters approved a bond measure for the state to provide an additional $250m.

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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Finally, it's going to happen. I've been going to this area for over 50 years. I've fished the Upper Klamath in Northern California, rafted the river and spend an enormous amount of time there and fighting to have the dams removed. 

I've many great memories of my son fishing the river and COPCO lake. 

The salmon runs are close to non-existent now and hopefully, they will return. 

Nibi gaa-bimaaji'iwemagak (water gives life)

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Kavika @1    2 weeks ago

There has been some outstanding documentary filming on the Klamath and talk about the Salmon for many years now. It's about damn time (pun intended) for the removal. I do hope some of those documentarians follow the changes.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  evilgenius @1.1    2 weeks ago
I do hope some of those documentarians follow the changes.

I think that they will, EG. The tribes are really involved in this.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
1.1.2  evilgenius  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    2 weeks ago

It would be outstanding to see the salmon run the river again. It would also help the rest of that eco system in ways that I (an untrained lay person) can't even imagine. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  evilgenius @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

The long-term benefits are significant. There was a study on this and I'll try to find it again.

This isn't the exact article that I was looking for but it is a good overview of dam removal.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1    2 weeks ago

hopefully this takes place soon enough to accomplish the desired results.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Masters Guide
2  Snuffy    2 weeks ago

While I'm generally in favor of this, I wish the article included information on what the plan is to replace the power generation of the dams.  

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Snuffy @2    2 weeks ago
The dams produce less than 2% of PacifiCorp’s power generation — enough to power about 70,000 homes — when they are running at full capacity, said Bob Gravely, spokesperson for the utility. But they often run at a far lower capacity because of low water in the river and other issues, and the agreement that paved the way for Thursday’s vote was ultimately a business decision, he said.
 
 
 
Snuffy
Masters Guide
2.1.1  Snuffy  replied to  Kavika @2.1    2 weeks ago

Yeah, I read that.  But it doesn't lay out what will replace the power generation.  Are we to assume that they will just ignore the loss or that they can make it up thru other means?  It would be nice to see an article that has all the info in it for a change.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Snuffy @2.1.1    2 weeks ago
PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely said removing the dams at a cost of $215 million to the utility’s ratepayers was actually the cheaper option, and the electricity they generate is easily replaced — it’s less than 2% of the utility’s supply.
 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
3  Gsquared    2 weeks ago

I've driven along the Klamath River and it is beautiful.   At one point I parked the car and was walking along the river, got hungry and ate some of the wild blackberries growing there.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Gsquared @3    2 weeks ago

It is a beautiful river, the areas of it in this article are very remote and stunning beautiful.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
3.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  Kavika @3.1    2 weeks ago

I was in Redding for work and had a day to explore.  I started from the 5 near Yreka and drove as far as I could along the Klamath until I noticed that gas was getting low in the car and had to turn around and go back.   It was a really fun adventure.  

Have you ever been to the Eel River?  It is also incredibly beautiful.   The two dams there are scheduled for removal after they finish the Klamath River project.   When the dams are removed from the Eel it will be California's longest free-flowing river. 

From the link below: The Eel represents perhaps the greatest opportunity in California to restore a watershed to its former abundance of wild salmonids .”  

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Gsquared @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

From Yreka did you follow it west toward the Pacific or NE towards its headwaters?

Yes, I have been to the Eel many times and the removal of the dams there will have a huge impact on fisheries.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
3.1.3  Gsquared  replied to  Kavika @3.1.2    2 weeks ago

I went west.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4  CB     2 weeks ago
"The Klamath salmon are coming home," Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok tribe, said in a statement. "The people have earned this victory and with it, we carry on our sacred duty to the fish that have sustained our people since the beginning of time."

So informative. These are people, situations, problems, and solutions I, we, never hear about and I am glad change for the betterment is in the works! Good on them. This appears to be big!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  CB @4    2 weeks ago
This appears to be big!

This is huge, CB.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4.1.1  CB   replied to  Kavika @4.1    2 weeks ago

I can see that. Four dams removed should 'reinvent' and reinvigorate the landscape and surrounding areas!

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
5  Ronin2    2 weeks ago
The dams on federal land, which at full capacity provide enough electricity for 70,000 homes, will be surrendered by the power utility PacifiCorp, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Faced with costly new regulations that included building fish screens and ladders, the company instead entered an agreement with the tribes and the US government to decommission the dams.

PacifiCorp is contributing $200m toward dam removal, paid for by a surcharge on its customers in Oregon and California, said Bob Gravely, a company spokesperson, and California voters approved a bond measure for the state to provide an additional $250m.

Love this- so PacifiCorp is sticking this on the consumers w/o their input. I am sure they are thrilled with a surcharge to their energy bills. If they are California residents they get stuck twice by the bond measure.

Buffett is a great environmentalist; but a shitty human being. He could easily afford to eat $450 million in demolition costs. But profits before people has always been his motto. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @5    2 weeks ago
Buffett is a great environmentalist; but a shitty human being. He could easily afford to eat $450 million in demolition costs. But profits before people has always been his motto. 

Do you have an actual opinion on the removal of the damns or is complaining the extent of your commentary?

 
 

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