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Dam celebration 

Pending removal of Klamath River structures feted

by Lee Juillerat, Herald and News, December 10, 2022


KBC NOTE: THE ECOTERRORISTS ARE WINNING. Historically water going down the river from Klamath Lake was so bad horses couldn't drink from it according to historic journals. The Bureau of Reclamation dewatered our beautiful refuges in 2021-2022 (which included 433 species of wildlife including suckers) in the guise of saving suckers. Destroying dams will release more than 20 million cubic yards of sediment, destroy deep dam reservoirs which cool the warm Klamath water for salmon and and are used for firefighting, and diminish agriculture.
Our local and regional representatives, including our CA and OR US Congressmen, and the vast majority of our population oppose hydroelectric dam removal. Those most effected by dam destruction, farmers, ranchers, and the people living along the dam reservoirs, were not invited to their meeting. Klamath Irrigation District Manager and KWUA member Gene Souza, along with SCWUA members, were forbidden to attend and turned away at the gate near the exclusive "celebration". Most reporters did not even stop to ask the mostly elderly locals, holding signs standing in the freezing weather for four hours, why they opposed dam removal. Our government and media have abandoned us dumb expendable farmers and ranchers and veterans.


HORNBROOK, Calif. — The removal of four Klamath River dams, a two-year process that’s planned to begin next spring with full removal in 2024, was celebrated by a series of speakers Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery, which is located along the river.

Speakers included Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Rep. Jared Huffmann, Yurok Tribal Chairman Joe James and Karuk Tribal Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery.

At a public session following an hour-long celebration that closed to the press and public, the six speakers took turns praising a Nov. 17 license surrender order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The decision is seen as the last major hurdle in implementing a plan to remove the four dams — Irongate, Copco 1, Copco 2 and J.C. Boyle. The decision also means the non-profit Klamath River Renewal Corporation can take action to remove the dams and implement restoration activities.

Based on a previous filing by the Klamath River Renewal Corp. removing the four dams will cost $446 million, which is with the project’s $450 million budget. The removals will open about 400 miles of upstream habitat for threatened coho salmon and steelhead. The Klamath River flows 257 miles from the Klamath Basin in Oregon to the Pacific Ocean in California.

Haaland, the first Native American Interior Department secretary, praised ongoing efforts to remove the dams, which began almost two decades ago, saying, “Clean water, healthy forests and fertile land made the Klamath River Basin and its surrounding watershed a home to tribal communities, productive agriculture, and a place where abundant populations of migratory birds, suckers, salmon and other fish could thrive. We must take urgent and necessary action to protect this special place.”

During her talk, Haaland announced that four Tribal water projects in the Klamath River Basin will receive $5.8 million through the Bureau of Reclamation to “restore aquatic ecosystems, improve the resilience of habitats, and mitigate the effects of the ongoing drought crisis.” She said the funding is being made available through BOR’s Native American Affairs Technical Assistance to Tribes Program.

“Clean water, healthy forests and fertile land made the Klamath Basin and its surrounding watershed home to Tribal communities, productive agriculture, and abundant populations of migratory birds, suckers, salmon and other fish,” Haaland said.” But over the past 20 years, the Basin has been met with unprecedented challenges due to ongoing drought conditions and limited water supply. The projects we are funding today — combined with millions of dollars in water and habitat resilience investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — will help restore this once abundant ecosystem for the benefit of all its inhabitants.”

Haaland complimented former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who attended the gathering, for her efforts working with tribes during her years in the position.

Huffman, whose Congressional district includes the Lower Klamath, noted “the incredibly deep connections they have to the Klamath River,” referring to the Yuroks, Hoopa Valley, Karuks and Klamaths. Huffman noted the removal project and restoration effort will be the largest in U.S. history.

“For so many people, today is the culmination of a lifetime of work to restore the healthy waters and fish stocks of the Klamath Basin,” Brown said. “It has taken a broad coalition working together to finally realize the removal of these dams, and that over 400 miles of the Klamath River will flow freely again. This is an incredibly important step forward on the path toward restorative justice for the peoples of the Klamath Basin, and toward restoring health to the river, as well as everyone and everything that depends on it.

“The natural wealth of the Klamath River has underpinned the physical well-being and cultural identity of Native peoples since time immemorial. The Klamath was once the third-largest salmon producing river on the West Coast and teemed with salmon and trout in what seemed to be an inexhaustible supply before the construction of concrete dams beginning in 1918 to generate electricity blocked migratory salmon and steelhead from accessing more than 350 miles of critical river habitat.”

She drew laughs closing her brief talk by noting, “We can say with certainty these dams will come down … and it’s damn time.”

“Today we celebrate a historic victory for the health of the Klamath River and the well-being of all the communities, livelihoods and ecosystems that depend on this vital waterway,” Newsom said. “We also celebrate the resilience and tenacity of the many partners who have advanced a powerful shared vision for this effort over 15 years to bring us to this moment. The incredible progress we have made proves that working together, we can forge a path forward through complex challenges to create a brighter future for all.”

Klamath Tribes Chairman Clayton Dumont, who did not attend the gathering, issued a statement saying, “The Klamath Tribes are ecstatic about these dams being removed. We are grateful to Governors Brown and Newsom, to our downriver Tribal brothers and sisters, and to all who worked tirelessly to make this huge contribution to restoring our Basin ecosystem.”

“Creator has answered our prayers,” said Yurok chair Joe James. In referring to restoring the river and riverside habitat he noted, “We’ve got a number of years of work to do.”

“Today’s celebration was well earned by the thousands of people who fought for clean water, healthy fisheries, and environmental justice for Klamath River communities,” Attebery said. “I am grateful to everyone, from the youth to the elders, Governors Newsom and Brown, and the team from PacifiCorp who made this possible.”

“My dream is not only to bring the salmon back, but to bring back a way of life,” Attebery added. “I’m looking forward to the fish coming back home.”

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BOR grants to benefit Klamath River Tribes

During Thursday’s gathering to celebrate the pending removal of four Klamath River hydroelectric dams, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland about $5.8 million is being made available to Klamath Rivers tribes through the Bureau of Reclamation's Native American Affairs Technical Assistance to Tribes Program.

The projects include:

Klamath Tribes, Upper Williamson River Restoration: The Klamath Tribes will receive $500,000 to assess and plan river system restoration activities on the Upper Williamson River in southern Oregon. The Tribe will assess the existing condition of approximately five miles of the river, develop plans for restoration activities, and install restoration infrastructures. This project advances goals and objectives established in both the Klamath Basin Integrated Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring Plan and the Upper Klamath Basin Watershed Action Plan. 

Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe and Yurok Tribe, in collaboration with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Juvenile Salmonid Survival and Migration Rate Study: The project will receive $3.9 million to study juvenile salmon. The Yurok Tribe will estimate specific survival through time of wild and hatchery Chinook Salmon as they migrate through the Klamath Basin under various environmental conditions. The Hoopa Valley and Karuk Tribes will use acoustic tags to monitor juvenile salmonid survival and migration rates from the Scott, Salmon and Trinity rivers and locations on the middle Klamath to Klamath River estuary. The USGS will provide support to the Tribes for this research study. 

Hoopa Valley Tribe, Ecological Flow Assessment on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation: The Hoopa Valley Tribe will receive $554,325 to complete an ecological flow assessment on the Trinity River. The project includes site selection, field data collection, stream gaging and water temperature monitoring.  

Yurok Tribe, Oregon Gulch Project, Mainstem Trinity River: The Yurok Tribe will receive $864,533 to remove tailing piles, increase floodplain inundation, promote fluvial processes, and reduce the wood storage deficit. The project will also double rearing habitat, improve the aquatic ecosystem, create seasonal surface water connections, increase vegetation biomass and increase the number of trees along the riverbanks.  

Haaland said the funding supplements nearly $26 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated this year for Klamath Basin restoration projects, including nearly $16 million for ecosystem restoration projects in the Basin and $10 million to expand the Klamath Falls National Fish Hatchery.

Haaland also noted that as part of the Interior Department’s “ongoing commitment to partnership and collaboration, senior Department leaders have held several in-person and virtual engagement sessions with Tribes, state and county officials, interagency partners, and water users to discuss near- and long-term solutions related to drought impacts in the Basin.”


Not everyone is pleased

A small group of people opposed to removing the four Klamath River hydroelectric dams watched the gathering of federal, state and various public and private agencies celebrating the pending removals from outside the gated-off area at the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery.

Along with “Stop the Klamath Dam Scams” and “Save Our Klamath Dams” signs, one claimed the dams provided green power, noted Siskiyou and Klamath County voters have opposed dam removal, said lakes created by the dams provide water for controlling wildfires and prevent flooding.



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