Final approval has been made for the decommission of four dams on the border between California and Oregon, which would be the greatest dam removal i
Final approval has been made for the decommission of four dams on the border between California and Oregon, which would be the greatest dam removal in U.S. history.
With the help of a U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commision, this project will aid and help restore the habitats of endangered fish like the Coho Salmon who need to return to their upstream spawning grounds.
The FERC issued an order Thursday that surrendered the dam licenses and approved the removal of the dams.
This has been the goal for many native tribes in the area. Their ancestors survived off of salmon and were frustrated that their way of life was being interrupted.
“The Klamath salmon are coming home,” Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok Tribe, said in response to the project. The Chinook salmon who, along with the Coho, take the Klamath River to reach their spawning grounds.
James claims that his people have a “sacred duty to the fish” considering that they have fed his people “since the beginning of time.”
The river has also been heavily affected by climate change. With the water growing too warm and housing more parasites, it has become an unfit environment for the fish.
The dams residing on federal property, which at full capacity provide enough electricity for 70,000 homes, will be surrendered by power utility PacifiCorp.
Instead of facing the costly job of putting up fish screens and ladders, the company appealed with the native tribes and the U.S. government and entered a consensus to decommission the dams.
PacifiCorp is putting in $200 million for dam removal, paid for by a surcharge on its customers in Oregon and California and a company spokesperson and California voters approved a bond measure for the state to give an additional $250 million for the cause.