The removal of four dams along the Klamath River this summer is the largest dam removal in history. This stage of the project, with all four dams actively being removed, has come after decades of planning, activism, and negotiation.

Best Info Resource: Klamath River Renewal Corporation 

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) is the 501(c)(3) organization tasked with managing the removal of the four Klamath dams. Their website is the most comprehensive source of project information across all topics. 

Mark Bransom, KRRC’s CEO, recently guest lectured at Oregon State University. His hour-long presentation covers the background, engineering processes, and status of the dam removal project.

The summer of dam removal is underway on the Klamath. The first dam to be fully removed was Copco 2 in 2023. Removal is ongoing on the other three dams, with full removal scheduled by the end of this summer. Restoration, monitoring, construction of recreational assets, and other components of the broader project will continue for several years following the removal.

See CalTrout’s short video with the reservoirs fully drawn down. 

Source of schedule image: Klamath River Renewal Corporation

How to Watch the Dams Come Down

Now is the time to make a visit to the Klamath if you want to witness dam removal in action. For the best views, take Copco Road on the north side of the reservoirs. There are publicly accessible overview spots to stop at along the way.  We recommend you plan your trip this July to see as much as you can. 

If you want to spend the night, there is excellent BLM and Forest Service camping in the vicinity of the drawn-down reservoirs

Image: A demolition blast on Copco 1. The dam was constructed in 1918 and is expected to be completely deconstructed by August 2024. Photo by Shane Anderson.

Whitewater Spotlight: Paddle Tribal Waters

Paddle Tribal Waters is a Ríos to Rivers initiative that will equip a group of youth from Klamath River Basin Tribal communities with the with the river and expedition skills to be the first group to paddle the Klamath from source-to-sea in 2025 once the dams come down. 

This year, the youth in the program engaged in five months of kayaking and academic studies in Chile and the Pacific Northwest. The curriculum for their program was developed with World Class Academy and three indigenous members of the Ríos to Rivers team. 

Watch a recent short film about the project

Learn About the Restoration Process

Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) is the contractor in charge of habitat restoration along the Klamath following dam removal. Their work began in 2019, and is slated to continue until 2028.

Among other responsibilities, their restoration requirements include propagating over 17 billion native seeds along the river corridor, restoring 22 miles of key salmon spawning habitat, and monitoring water quality along 240 miles of river. 

RES has published four detailed StoryMaps that highlight their plans, progress, partners, and photos from the Klamath Project. This is the best resource to understand the restoration efforts on the Klamath. 

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