Dam removal and water quality

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Removal of the John C. Boyle Dam is likely to impact water quality on the Klamath River, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The J.C. Boyle Dam southwest of Klamath Falls is one of four dams targeted for removal.

The Oregon D.E.Q. held two meetings at Oregon Tech Tuesday to discuss possible environmental impacts of taking out the dam.

“D.E.Q.’s role in this is to determine whether the project can proceed in a manner that meets state water quality standards.”  Notes Chris Stine of the Oregon D.E.Q.

Stine adds that the release of sediment is expected to cause a short term lowering of  water quality.  “But we believe that there will be long term benefits and an improvement of water quality including a net ecological benefit once the project is done.”

Mark Bransom of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation says the cost of removing all four dams won’t be known until the projects go out to bid.   “We think the estimate is somewhere in the range of the amount of money that we have, somewhere under our budget of 450 million dollars.”

The D.E.Q. report is one hurdle on the way to getting federal approval for dam removal.

“We anticipate that we will begin significant site preparation and early construction activities in early 2020.”  Stated Bransom.  “And then physically remove the dams during 2021 and possibly into 2022.”

The cost of removing all four dams will be covered through a surcharge on Oregon Pacific Power bills, and passage of a California bond measure.


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