Some River Restoration Projects Are Worth The Wait


JCBoyle Dam, Klamath River | American Rivers

John C. Boyle Dam, Klamath River | American Rivers

Throughout the month of June, we will be talking on our blog and social media about the challenges that we face when doing river restoration projects around the country. In some cases, restoration work is fairly straightforward and follows a relatively predictable timeline. However, sometimes unexpected circumstances may arise that cause challenges and delays in order to move the project forward. (Wait, there is another dam underneath this dam??)

Our president, Bob Irvin, echoes this theme in his letter to members in our latest newsletter. Bob says:

It takes time to save a river. Victories don’t happen overnight. Removing a harmful dam, cleaning up pollu­tion, or securing a Wild and Scenic River desig­nation often takes years of hard work.

One reason American Rivers is such a strong advocate for rivers is our persistence. We work for long-term solutions, and our commitment pays off.

I’m thrilled to share an example of this dedication with you. On the Klamath River, which flows through southwest Oregon into California, our staff has worked with partners for more than a decade to restore imperiled salmon and river health by removing four large dams.

In April, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced he will introduce legislation to authorize key Klamath restoration agreements — a major step toward one of the biggest dam removal and river restoration efforts the world has seen. Removing the four dams — scheduled to begin in 2020 — will restore 300 miles of habitat for salmon and steelhead. The project will also improve water supplies and revitalize fishing, farming, and tribal communities.

We’ve come a long way toward Klamath River restoration, but the work isn’t done yet. I hope I can count on you to continue the journey with us, as we see this important project through. Your support is vital for our work on the Klamath, and for protecting and restoring all of the nation’s rivers.

I look forward to celebrating many more river conservation victories together.

We welcome you to join us on our journey this month as we review some of the trials and tribulations that come with ultimately successful river restoration work. In the meantime, if you have experienced challenges with restoration, please share them with us below!