FERC, Tribes meet for dam removal talks

Chiloquin, Ore. – Klamath Tribal Chair Don Gentry believes dam removal is the key to restoring the health of the Klamath River.  “101 years since we had steelhead and salmon come to the Upper Basin, because of the first dam that went in – that was promised to have fish ladders, and it wasn’t provided.”

Four dams are targeted for removal:  Irongate Dam, Copco 1, Copco 2, and the John C. Boyle Dam.

Tribal members met with officials from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to discuss the process Thursday morning.

“We want to be updated on the status of the licensing process.”  Explains Gentry.  “We want to affirm our commitment, or our desire to see the dams removed.”

If removal of the dams is approved by FERC, Pacificorp will transfer ownership of the dams to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

Jim Root serves as Secretary / Treasurer for the KRRC.  “The plan that we’re working against, would have all four dams removed at the same time.”

The cost of dam removal is estimated at about $450,000,000 and could get underway in 2020.

Two dams would remain on the Klamath River – the Keno Dam, and the Link River Dam.

Chairman Gentry says fish ladders on those dams would need to be improved.  “There would be some needed improvements to improve fish passage to the Upper Basin here.”

Jim Root says he’s aware that he’s playing an active role in a major project.  “My gosh – this really is something that, at this level has not been done before, and it is historic.”

Thursday’s meeting was the fourth in a series of five meetings FERC officials are having with Tribal governments along the Klamath River.

They’ll meet with Yurok Tribal members Friday in Klamath, California.

You can learn more about the Klamath River Renewal Corporation here:  www.klamathrenewal.org

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