The restoration of the Klamath watershed, spanning 15,000 miles of California and Oregon, is the largest dam removal project in history. It will reopen access to more than 400 miles of habitat for threatened coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and other threatened native fish. It is the end result of decades of effort by citizens and government entities alike, and perhaps most consequentially, by the tribal nations who first inhabited the area and who relied on the Klamath River for salmon.
The Klamath was once the third largest salmon-producing river on the West Coast, and an important source of subsistence and cultural resources for Klamath Basin tribes. But dams, combined with land and water use impacts, have contributed to declines in salmon and steelhead abundance. This has impacted tribal, recreational, and commercial fisheries and the communities and economies they support.
On the next episode of Dive In with NOAA Fisheries, we’ll hear from Bob Pagliuco, a marine habitat resource specialist for NOAA Fisheries. He will explain the negative impacts the dams have had on the ecosystems of the Klamath River basin, and how their removal will improve the habitat for the endangered salmon of the area. We’ll also speak with Amy Cordalis, an attorney and member of the Yurok Tribe, whose family has lived along the Klamath River for many generations. She grew up fishing for salmon on that river and witnessed the devastating effects the dams had on the salmon, and on her people.