Rebooting the Klamath

By Lisa Owens Viani

“There are bounds on this system and if you mismanage it, you can kill off what was once the third-largest salmon run on the entire West Coast,” says Amy Cordalis, general counsel for the Yurok Tribe. In 2002, more than 70,000 adult salmon died on the Klamath River when U.S. Bureau of Reclamation diversions caused water temperatures to spike, which led to the spread of diseases that wiped out the fish. In February, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), a nonprofit group of river stakeholders including the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, filed supplemental information with the Federal Energy Commission to support their application to take over management of four hydroelectric dams in the upper watershed. “There’s never been a project that has considered removing four dams at the same time on the same river and restoring this much land,” says KRRC chief executive officer Mark Bransom.

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