The Current Magazine Spring 2018 | Page 14

Klamath Countdown

Salmon recovery in the Mid-Klamath Basin


As CalTrout looks forward at our landscape-scale strategic objectives for the next three years, Klamath Dam removal jumps out as one of the most promising salmon recovery opportunities in the history of our organization. Hyped as the largest dam removal project in the world, we find it hard not to get excited about the prospect of spring-run Chinook reaching the headwaters of the Sprague, Williamson, and Wood rivers for the first time in over 100 years.

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC)—the herculean nonprofit organization tasked with dam removal—shows on their website an ambitious timeline of sub-accomplishments needed to meet the goal of dam removal within the 2020-2021 window. CalTrout and our conservation partners have an appointed seat on the KRRC Board and are active in ensuring that the many steps towards removal stay on schedule.

Most notably, over the next two years, the KRRC will have to work through the highly bureaucratic Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) process for License Transfer and Surrender. On a parallel path, KRRC will have to navigate the California and Oregon 401 Water Quality Certification Process and the FERC National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. If the FERC and permitting process go well, KRRC will then turn their attention towards the solicitation and contracting challenge of hiring a qualified design and build construction firm. All this must be accomplished while simultaneously carrying out a massive education and outreach strategy to communicate effectively with dozens of special interest groups, government agencies, tribes, farmers, and private landowners.

Click here for the Klamath River Renewal Corporation timeline for dam removal.