A Watershed Moment for the Klamath

On February 25, the long campaign by TU and our Klamath Tribal and conservation partners to restore the Klamath River passed a major milestone when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on proposed decommissioning of the Lower Klamath Project.

The bottom line: the DEIS recommends removing four old fish-killing dams consistent with formal agreements and the proposal built by TU and our Klamath partners to restore the Klamath River and its legendary salmon and steelhead fisheries.

Now, anglers and river advocates need to urge FERC to adopt the findings of the DEIS and issue a Final DEIS as quickly as possible so the river restoration work can begin later this year, as planned.

Consistent with the findings of previous federal and state analyses, the DEIS concludes the benefits of taking out the Klamath dams far outweigh potential adverse impacts of the action. The DEIS follows FERC’s previous approval of transfer of the operating license for the Project from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, for the purpose of removing the dams.

Trout Unlimited and our Klamath partners have worked for more than two decades to get to this point in restoring the Klamath River and the fisheries, economies and cultures that depend on it. Brian Johnson, TU’s California Director, said, “Multiple environmental reviews by state and federal resource agencies have all reached the same conclusion: removing these dams is imperative for restoring the Klamath River and its salmon and steelhead runs. We still need to balance water use and restore wetlands in the Upper Basin, but dam removal remains the single biggest thing we can do to restore native fish populations and water quality in the Klamath right now.”

Continue reading at tu.org/magazine/.

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