Final push for the Klamath River

You can help restore the third most productive river for salmon and steelhead on the West Coast

The Klamath River and its legendary runs of salmon and steelhead is poised for a renaissance. Four obsolete hydropower dams that today produce little energy are scheduled to be removed in 2020, the result of a collaborative agreement crafted over years of negotiations by a diverse group of stakeholders. Now, their fate lies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency responsible for hydropower projects.

FERC is considering two formal petitions that, if approved, are the next vital step in the process of removing the dams and opening up nearly 500 miles of historic spawning and rearing habitat for fish. FERC is inviting public comment on these petitions. Deadline for comments is November 6, 2017. Now is the time to make our voices heard.

Supporters of dam removal and the petitions to transfer license of the dams to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation and to decommission JC Boyle, Copco i and Copco II, and Iron Gate dams include the current dam owner PacifiCorp, the states of California and Oregon, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Yurok and Karuk tribes, and the conservation groups American Rivers, California Trout, Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, Klamath RiverKeeper, Salmon River Restoration Council, Sustainable Northwest, and Trout Unlimited.

(L) Klamath River steelhead

Transfer of the dam license from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), the entity responsible for decommissioning, is the next big step in the Klamath River restoration process. The transfer must be approved by FERC for the settlement to go forward. You can help by submitting comments to FERC supporting transfer of the dam license and decommissioning of the four dams.

This is our golden opportunity to bolster wild steelhead and salmon runs on the West Coast. The Klamath River was once the third largest producer of salmon on the West Coast, behind only the Columbia and Sacramento rivers. Let’s bring it back. How to submit your comment:
1. Go to www.ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx. (If you’d like to submit by mail, use address below. Include docket # P-2082-062 in letter.)
2. Enter your information including e-mail. Open automatic e-mail from FERC, follow link from there to submit comment.
3. In the docket field, enter first # P-2082-062, then select the proper docket offered by FERC, confirm that selection, then enter P-14803-000 and repeat the process to specify the project on which you are commenting.
4. Fill in comment form using our sample letter (see below) or your own. Personal stories are always a good touch. Comments must be submitted by November 6th. Thank you for your help!

SAMPLE LETTER

Kimberly Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Re: Docket # P-2082-062 and P-14803-000

Dear Secretary Bose,

I support the transfer of the PacifiCorp Hydropower Project to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC). This will advance the removal of four aging dams on the Klamath River — JC Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2, and Iron Gate.

Since 1917, the four Klamath Dams have blocked access to hundreds of miles of productive habitat for salmon and steelhead. These dams have diminished the productivity of the river, prevented anadromous fish from reaching their spawning grounds, and starved the lower river of cold source water. Beyond loss of habitat, Iron Gate Dam now serves as a giant heat sink that creates water quality problems, including toxic algae blooms.

Simply put, the removal of the four Klamath Dams represents the most significant opportunity to bolster salmon recovery on the West Coast. PacifiCorp and settlement parties agree that the best path forward in terms of securing both economic and environmental benefits is to decommission the four hydroelectric dams. This conclusion is supported by the California and Oregon Public Utility Commissions, which found that decommissioning the dams was in the best interest of PacifiCorp’s customers. The Klamath River Renewal Corporation is fully capable of carrying out the project.

The decommissioning and ultimate removal of the four Klamath Dams not only makes economic sense, it would greatly benefit the Klamath-origin salmon fisheries and all other Klamath Basin public resources that have been adversely affected by these four dams over the past 100 years.

I urge FERC to approve this proposed License Amendment and transfer to the KRRC for purposes of removing the four Klamath Dams and overseeing the restoration of the Klamath River.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Photos courtesy of Craig Nielsen/Shasta Trout

By Sam Davidson.