The U.S. is currently working on its largest dam removal and river restoration project ever. Four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California will be removed to restore habitat and migratory fish passage, with the aim of reviving salmon populations. This will benefit area tribes, fishery owners and environmental groups, as the Klamath River was once the third-largest salmon-producing river.
To restore the health of the Klamath River and its dependent ecosystems, economies, and communities, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission states that the dam removal is a crucial step. Approximately 19 billion native seeds will be planted to rehabilitate the surrounding ecosystems once the dams are removed and the reservoirs drained, according to Jefferson Public Radio.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $3 billion for dam projects, with $585 million going to the High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program and $75 million for dam removal. The recent increase in funding for dam repair and removal is significant, as this is significantly more than what was given out from 2019 to 2021.
The first Dam, Copco 2, will be removed this summer. The other three dams, Copco 1, the Iron Gate Dam, and the JC Boyle Dam, will be removed by the end of 2024.
There are numerous obsolete and outdated dams throughout the U.S., some of which may endanger the nearby communities. In 2022 alone, 65 dams were removed across the country.
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