Largest dam removal in US history approved


Four dams along the lower Klamath River will be removed.

ByKayna Whitworth and Alyssa Pone
November 19, 2022, 7:00 AM

The federal government is giving the greenlight to the largest dam removal in U.S. history, paving the way for unprecedented restoration of the Klamath River basin in California and Oregon.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given the final stamp of approval for four dams along the lower Klamath River to be removed, reinstating access to more than 300 miles of habitat for salmon and improving water quality. After years of talks, FERC said on Thursday that they “approve the surrender of the Lower Klamath Project license and the proposed removal of the four project developments [the dams].”

This comes after a decades-long push from river basin tribes whose livelihood and culture are intertwined with the river. The Yurok Tribe told ABC News that if the salmon disappear from the river – so do they as a people.

PHOTO: In this undated drone image, the Iron Gate Dam is shown.
In this undated drone image, the Iron Gate Dam is shown.
ABC News

“Salmon are a keystone species for their survival of this ecosystem that we’re a part of. And if there ever comes a time when there’s no more salmon in the river, then our ecosystem will have failed completely and won’t be able to sustain our life here on this world,” Frankie Myers, vice chair of the Yurok Tribe, told ABC News.