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Klamath Restoration (OR & CA)

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A series of four dams on the Klamath River (licensed as FERC P-2082) operated by PacifiCorp has devastated salmon populations on what was one of the nation's most productive salmon rivers. These dams which produce very little power, relative to their environmental impacts, have long been candidates for removal.

Removing the dams, an action American Whitewater supports, would open up opportunities for new day trips on sections of river that are currently inundated by reservoirs or dewatered by hydropower operations, while creating an opportunity for a multi-day whitewater trip on the Klamath River. In addition, the dam removal would significantly improve water quality. Prior to dam removal, American Whitewater’s objectives are to maintain river access, retain publicly accessible real-time flow information, ensure hydropower operations provide and improve whitewater opportunities in respective reaches compatible with the physical and biotic integrity and resource goals of those reaches, and ensure a proper balance of hydropower and non-hydropower needs. In addition to these recreational interests, we also have a significant interest in the health of salmon and steelhead populations of the Klamath River.

The Klamath River currently meets the needs of multiple interests including but not limited to recreation, power generation, fish and wildlife, cultural, municipal water supply, and agriculture. These potentially competing interests warrant systematic evaluation of each facility individually, the Project holistically, and the river on a local, regional and global scale, to determine the proper balance of water allocation and Project alternatives for respective uses in accordance with the best interests of society. As active participants in this dialogue over the past two decades, American Whitewater believes dam removal of J.C. Boyle Dam, Copco 1 Dam, Copco 2 Dam, and Iron Gate Dam is the preferred action to restore the river. The loss of enhanced mid-day summer flows on the Hell's Corner reach will have an impact on existing opportunities on whitewater recreation but dam removal will open up new opportunities and improve overall health of the river. As part of a the dam removal project, American Whitewater will seek appropriate mitigation to ensure the public has the opportunity to experience and enjoy a restored river through development of river access and recreational infrastructure that respects fishery resources and cultural sites.

Anticipated Schedule (as of December 2020)

Drawdown starts January 1, 2023 and the major dam removals will be completed by October 1, 2023 for fish passage. All dam removal activities will be completed by 12/31/2023. At Copco I, drawdown will start on October 1, 2022 only to the bottom elevation of the existing head gates. Restoration will start during drawdown (provided safe access) and will continue through 2024.

Regarding the flows rates from the existing JC Boyle Powerhouse, the Bureau of Reclamation dictates the flows and PacifiCorp operates the actual release of water. The flows are based on storm events, time of year, and power generation. JC Boyle dam operations are anticipated to be unchanged until 1/1/2023, when drawdown starts.

A Sample of American Whitewater Filings

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Title Name City
Thomas O'Keefe Seattle WA Details...
Bill Cross Ashland OR Details...
Dave Steindorf Chico CA Details...

Associated Projects

Klamath Restoration (OR & CA)

American Whitewater supports restoration of the Klamath River for the benefit of salmon while providing appropriate opportunities for whitewater recreation.

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Associated Rivers


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