Oregon State, Yurok Tribe Partner to Study Klamath River After Dam Removal

On the precipice of the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, researchers at Oregon State University are partnering with a northern California tribe to envision what lies ahead for the Klamath River.

Demolition of the J.C. Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2 and Iron Gate dams could begin as early as next year, though federal energy regulators are still reviewing plans submitted by the Klamath River Renewal Corp. to decommission and raze the structures.

California Is About to Begin the Nation’s Largest Dam Removal Project. Here’s What It Means for Wildlife

After decades of negotiation, the largest dam-removal project in U.S. history is expected to begin in California’s far north next year.

The first of four aging dams on the Klamath River, the 250-mile waterway that originates in southern Oregon’s towering Cascades and empties along the rugged Northern California coast, is on track to come down in fall 2023. Two others nearby and one across the state line will follow.

Undamming the Klamath May Be a Reality This Year

Twenty years ago, undamming the Klamath River seemed like an impossibility. Against all odds, the project is entering its home stretch and dam removal may begin as early as this year.

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a draft environmental impact statement detailing how removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River would have permanent and significant benefits for the environment and the public. One of the biggest benefits would be the restoration of water quality and temperatures, which are essential for the survival of fish species in the river that local tribes and fishermen rely upon.

Largest Dam Removal in US History Set to Begin

The Iron Gate Dam, one of four dams on the Klamath River, will be removed in 2023. It will be the largest dam removal in U.S. history.

For Pachomio Feliz, the waters of the Klamath River and Pacific are life. He’s a member of the Yurok Tribe.

“This is our lifeblood,” he said. “Without the river, we’d be dead.”

Standing at the Cusp: The Klamath River Edges Closer to Dam Removals

Few rivers have faced such a protracted battle about their future as the Klamath, which flows through Oregon and Northern California. After decades of negotiations, the decommissioning of four dams on the river is finally in sight, but hurdles remain. We spoke with Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, to learn how he’s working to get the dam removal across the finish line—and what the transformation will mean for the many communities that depend on the river.

Who will benefit from the Klamath dam removals? Who may be at risk of negative consequences? How might the dam removals impact the tribes in the basin?

Anti-Government Conspiracies Create Another Challenge to Addressing Drought in the West

For more than a century, a system of government and legal agreements has largely resolved water disputes among those living in America’s most arid region of the country.

The methods of conflict resolution were at work in December when water bosses in California, Nevada and Arizona agreed to cut their use of Colorado River water to avoid penalties under a compact that divvies up the river among seven western states and Mexico.

Water Arrives at Desperately Dry Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge

The Bureau of Reclamation began releasing water from the Klamath River to Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge on Sept. 3. Advocates hope it will improve wetland habitat on the refuge for migrating birds this fall. Last week, California Waterfowl Association officially purchased approximately 3,750 acre-feet of water from Agency Ranch in the Wood River Valley, above Upper Klamath Lake, having announced the purchase and fundraising effort this spring. Lower Klamath has been plagued by insufficient wetland habitat due to a lack of deliveries from the Klamath Project for the past 20 years.

Confused About What’s Happening on the Klamath? Here’s a Rundown

Dams are killing salmon on the river’s lower half, while irrigation threatens endangered species on the upper half.

It’s been a tough year for the Klamath River.

The Klamath, which flows through Oregon and Northern California and into the Pacific Ocean, is suffering from drought and infrastructure problems. That’s caused trouble, not just for the fish in the river, but also for the tribes and farmers who rely on it for day-to-day living.

The Government Cut Off Water to Farmers in the Klamath Basin. It Reignited a Decades-Old War Over Water and Fish

Drought has long fueled tensions between growers, who depend on the water for irrigation, and the Klamath Tribes, who hold two protected fish species as sacred.

Running Out of Water: How Climate Change Fuels a Crisis in the US West

Except for a brief stint in the military, Paul Crawford has spent his entire life farming in southern Oregon. First, as a boy, chasing his dad through hayfields and now, growing alfalfa on his own farm with his wife and two kids, who want to grow up to be farmers.

“I wouldn’t trade a day of farming with my wife and my kids for anything. It’s an amazing life,” Crawford said. “It just may end if we don’t figure something out on this water issue.”

The American west is drying out as the region faces an unprecedented drought. Few places are as devastated as the Klamath Basin, where Crawford’s farm sits. Straddling the border between California and Oregon, the watershed spans 12,000sq miles – from agricultural lands fed by Upper Klamath Lake to tribal communities surrounding the Klamath River.