In a historic milestone, after years of negotiations with American Rivers and other parties, PacifiCorp has agreed to remove four dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon. The deal is part of a broader effort to restore the river and revive its ailing salmon and steelhead runs and aid fishing, tribal and farming communities. When the dams come down it will be the biggest dam removal and river restoration effort the world has ever seen.
We have not popped the champagne cork yet, but we have put a bottle on ice. We believe this initial agreement is a huge step toward a healthy Klamath River Basin. While this will be the world’s biggest dam removal project, ultimately, this isn’t about tearing down dams. It is about restoring one of the most important rivers on the west coast, boosting local economies, and revitalizing fishing, tribal and farming communities.
PacifiCorp's four dams produce a nominal amount of power, which can be replaced using renewables and efficiency measures, without contributing to global warming. A study by the California Energy Commission and the Department of the Interior found that removing the dams and replacing their power would save PacifiCorp customers up to $285 million over 30 years.
The dams, built between 1908 and 1962, cut off hundreds of miles of once-productive salmon spawning and rearing habitat in the Upper Klamath, which was once the third most productive salmon river on the West Coast. The dams also create toxic conditions in the reservoirs that threaten the health of fish and people.
American Rivers has played a lead role working with PacifiCorp and other stakeholders to find a lasting solution for the Klamath and its communities.
Watch our film about the Klamath
For more information about the agreement announced today, visit American Rivers.
More from American Rivers in the TreeHugger Archive.
Welcome American Rivers Council - And 'Tear Down That Iron Gate ...
America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2008
On World Rivers Day, Take Time To Appreciate What Rivers Give Us ...
Strengthening The Resiliency Of Communities In The Face Of Global ...