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January 23, 2008
Dams Coming Down
Two years of closed-door negotiations between farmers, Indian tribes, fishermen, conservation groups and government agencies have resulted in an unprecedented (but very conditional) agreement
to remove four hydroelectric dams now operating along an embattled 300-mile stretch of the Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California. The goal of the dam removal is to restore runs of the now-endangered salmon that were once plentiful in the
region and to re-assign contentious water usage rights throughout the region accordingly..............
Though it was once the third-most productive salmon river on the West Coast, the Klamath has suffered over the last several decades as a result of misguided hatchery practices, overfishing,
development and the loss of habitat to dams, mining and logging. For the dams to actually be removed, the federal government would have to approve the dam removal plan (and put up the estimated $400 million to cover costs). Then, if dam owner PacifiCorp (a
major regional utility) is willing to go along with the plan, the dams could be removed as soon as 2015.