Major Milestone for Klamath River Restoration: Decommissioning of 3 Dams Begins

January 10, 2024

Statement by Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers 

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145 

The effort to restore a free-flowing Klamath River is taking a major step forward this week. The three remaining dams are being decommissioned and the drawdown of the reservoirs is beginning. Removal of the first dam, Copco 2, was completed this fall. The Klamath is the largest dam removal and river restoration project in history. It will have far-reaching benefits for the river’s tribes, water quality, salmon, and communities up and down the river. 

Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement: 

“This is a historic moment for the Klamath River. The water is flowing and the river can finally begin healing. A new chapter for the Klamath, its people, and salmon is beginning.” 

“At a time when our politics are polarized and the reality of climate change is daunting, the Klamath presents an important lesson: we can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and make incredible progress by working together.” 

“This success is thanks to the leadership of Tribal Nations and the collaboration of communities along the river. We applaud the decades of effort and bipartisan support that made this moment possible.” 

“We celebrate today, and recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of restoration on the Klamath, and on rivers nationwide. Our nation is facing an urgent freshwater crisis. Accelerating the removal of outdated, harmful dams is vital to protecting community health and safety, addressing longstanding injustices, and protecting the rivers on which all life depends.”