After decades of negotiations, the Klamath River is set to flow free in a short time. A Memorandum of Understanding on restoring the Klamath and dam removal was agreed to and signed today, Tuesday, November 17th, by the Governors of California and Oregon, leaders of the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, PacifiCorp, and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. This would be the largest dam removal project ever undertaken in the United States, and “the project, when completed, will address declines in fish populations, improve river health and renew Tribal communities and cultures,” per the press release.

Photo by Ben Moon

Granted this will not happen overnight, but this agreement is the biggest step toward recovering the Klamath River and its fisheries in decades. The signing parties, “committed to the removal of the JC Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2, and Iron Gate dams in order to achieve a free-flowing Klamath River with volitional fish passage.”

Copco No. 1 dam, USFWS

“The science on dam removal is rock solid – it’s one of the most effective ways to improve the health and resilience of wild fish and rivers. This latest agreement puts this proven solution into action on an unprecedented scale,” said Native Fish Society’s Executive Director, Mark Sherwood.

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