Dam removal focus of flight down Klamath River

Klamath Falls, Ore. – The president of an agency charged with dam removal gets a bird’s eye view of the Klamath River.

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation, or K.R.R.C., is focused on removing four dams from the Klamath River.

K.R.R.C. President Mark Bransom scheduled a flight over the length of the river Thursday morning.  “Provides a wonderful opportunity for folks to see the river from the air, to gain a broad perspective on the entire watershed.”

The Keno Dam won’t be taken out, but will require fish passage improvements.

The John C. Boyle Dam is the only dam in Oregon targeted for removal as part of the project.

Ecoflight President Bruce Gordon flew the plane.  “We like to say, this kind of conservation flying gives the land a voice.  So you really take a look at what’s going on, and hopefully, you are inspired to say something about it.”

Those who own homes along reservoirs above Copco 1 and 2, and Irongate Dams may see property values drop if the dams are taken out.

But Bransom believes it’s not all bad news.  “I happen to believe that the restoration of the river, and the replacement of the reservoirs and the poor water quality and some of the other things with a healthy, free-flowing river will actually provide long term benefits for those property owners.”

It’s roughly 100 miles from Klamath Falls to the Irongate Dam by air.

Michael Belchik of the Yurok Tribe believes the aerial view provides an important perspective.  “When you’re flying, you can see that it really isn’t that far – that we really are part of the same basin, and the salmon can make it up this far, and they will make it up this far.”

Bransom expects the dam removal project will cost about 400 million dollars.

The project could get underway in 2021 if federal approval is secured.


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