Klamath Dams Removals
Resources used for the episode below:
Wild Steelhead : The data show a general increase in adult steelhead moving upstream, from a total of less than 400 in 2013 to nearly 2,300 in 2021, with an increasing percentage of wild versus hatchery steelhead.
(. https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/elwha-series-steelhead )
As the studies continue, researchers are recording the rebirth of migratory populations, including Chinook, coho, sockeye, pink and chum salmon, as well as steelhead. Other intriguing changes are being seen among bull trout, cutthroat trout and lamprey.
“All nine migratory fish runs passed the former Elwha Dam within 31 months, and eight of the nine ascended through Glines Canyon within 60 months,” according to a study led by Jeffrey Duda of the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle. “Native anadromous salmonids were documented up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) upstream of the upper dam and in approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) of novel river reaches contained in the footprint of the former reservoirs.”
( https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/elwha-series-introduction )
The Klamath Dam Removal was approved November 17, 2022, just last month and it is expected to start in 2023 or 2024.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the hydropower license surrender to remove 4 dams on the Klamath River.
It will open up 400 miles of habitat.
Unlike in Washington, California is facing drought, which is one of the reasons this dam removal is currently the hot topic circulating in the fishing world.
The approval of the dam removal will become the largest fam removal and river restoration project in the world! The hurdle will cost around 500$ million, and the proposal championed by the Native American Tribes, particularly the Yurok, Karuk, and hoopa Valley tribes, as well as environmentalists.
The dams produce less that 2% of PacifiCorp’s power generation —- about 70K homes — which renders them obsolete.
The Klamath Basin watershed covers more than 14,500 square miles and Klamath itself WAS once the 3rd largest salmon producing river in the west coast, but the dams contributed to the decline of the salmon population because they preventing salmon from reaching the spawning grounds upstream.
( https://www.npr.org/2022/11/17/1137442481/dam-demolition-klamath-river-california-federal-regulators-salmon )
Dams’ reservoir became breeding grounds for Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that is toxic to everything, human, aquatic life, livestock and pets. The Karuk tribe measured the toxicity and resulted to almost 4000 times the WHO guidelines.
The phosphorescent film also traps heat and depletes oxygen content in the water resulting to 90% of salmon that return become seriously ill.
Klamath Dam Removals story map