Klamath dams to come down

PacifiCorp agrees to largest decommissioning in U.S. history

It won’t happen for a decade or more, but four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River that long have blocked fish migrations are coming down. Their owner, PacifiCorp, an Oregon-based utility company, this week agreed to the removal.

It will be the largest and most complex dam teardown in U.S. history, but it is seen as vital to restoring the salmon fishery on the Klamath, the third largest on the West Coast.

Farmers, environmentalists, fishing companies and Indian tribes have been feuding over the river for years, but they came together to create the agreement. Environmentalists are warning, however, that dam removal won’t solve all the river’s problems.

“We can’t restore the river solely by removing the dams, but we can’t restore the Klamath without removing the dams,” Steve Rothert, of American Rivers, told the Los Angeles Times.