The Current Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 60

Klamath Dams continued from page 15

The decision by PacifiCorp to consider dam removal opened the door for a Klamath Basin-wide negotiation among dozens of local, state (both California and Oregon) and federal stakeholders. By 2006, more than 40 parties agreed to a pair of agreements that would have met PacifiCorp’s terms for dam removal and also provided a comprehensive water sharing plan and plan for environmental restoration throughout the watershed. PacifiCorp put its request for relicensing with FERC on hold and worked with stakeholders, including CalTrout, to pursue the required Congressional approval to put the agreements into action.

Unfortunately, Congress never adopted the Klamath Agreements, which expired at the end of 2015.

In the beginning of 2016, PacifiCorp, the state of Oregon, California, several tribes and conservation groups including CalTrout moved forward on a solution that included dam removal. Earlier this year, parties signed onto a new agreement that set the course for dam removal by 2020. Unfortunately, other aspects of the deal remain to be negotiated since Congress failed to act on a basin-wide solution.

PacifiCorp is in the process of transferring dam ownership to an independent organization, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, which will prepare for and oversee the removal of the dams in 2020. Dam removal on the Klamath River is the first critical step in what will eventually be the largest dam removal and river restoration effort in the United States.

Matilija Dam continued from page 17

In addition to opening up access to historic spawning grounds for steelhead, removing Matilija Dam will provide aquatic and riparian habitat restoration, which will help several other threatened and endangered species in the watershed, such as the California red-legged frog, tidewater goby, southwestern willow flycatcher, and California condor. Removal will also help to restore the beach and other nearshore and coastal habitats. And it will eliminate the current risk to downstream homes of a catastrophic flood. CalTrout is a long-standing member of the Matilija Coalition, and has recently taken a key role in developing comprehensive dam removal grant proposals and identifying needed funding to complete the project.