Emeryville, Calif.—Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued the Final License Delivery Order for the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project on the Klamath River. This order approves the delivery of the license and decommissioning plan to remove four dams and associated infrastructure, and to restore the Project’s river reach.
Brian Johnson, California director with Trout Unlimited, said, “Multiple environmental reviews by state and federal resource agencies over the past two decades have come to the same conclusion: removing these dams is the most important thing we can do to restore the legendary Klamath River. fisheries We welcome FERC’s carefully considered review and approval of the plan. And we honor the enduring commitment of our partners to this long campaign, especially the Yurok Tribe, the Karuk Tribe, and the Klamath Tribes. It’s finally time to ‘bring the salmon home’”.
The four dams in the Lower Klamath Project (Iron Gate, Copco I & II, and JC Boyle) are old and generate very little hydroelectric power. These dams provide no water for municipal use or irrigation diversions and negligible flood control benefits, but they impair water quality and completely block fish passage to more than 400 miles of vital spawning and nursery habitat for species of cultural and commercial importance such as salmon and rainbow trout. Dams are a primary factor in the precipitous decline of these species in what has historically been the third most productive basin for salmon and rainbow trout on the West Coast.
Chrysten Rivard, Oregon Director for Trout Unlimited, said: “The Klamath River has been Exhibit A of how damming, drought, imbalanced water management and climate change can choke a river. Now the Klamath is poised to become a prime example of how an entire river system, and the people and wildlife that depend on it, can be renewed.”
Added Rivard: “The significant investments TU and others have made to improve water quality, fish passage and habitat in the Upper Klamath Basin will soon pay all their dividends as salmon and rainbow trout finally return. to their ancestral spawning and breeding grounds. The native fish of the Klamath River, and many of its human residents, have long waited and worked for this moment. We applaud the federal, state and tribal government leaders who have helped us get here, and PacifiCorp and KRRC for their commitment to bringing Klamath back to life.”
TU’s work restoring water quality and fish passage in the Upper Klamath Basin over the past fifteen years has already helped prepare habitat and landowners for the return of salmon and rainbow trout to Klamath Lake. and their headers. This work will continue on an even greater scale and pace now, thanks to investments in salmon and watershed restoration provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. See examples of this work here and here.
For summaries and the full text of the Klamath Settlement Agreements, as well as additional fact sheets on the terms of the Settlements, see: http://www.reconnectklamath.org