West Coast Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Licensed Hydroelectric Projects: Klamath River
Klamath Hydroelectric Project (P-2082): Klamath River, California and Oregon.
Project Profile & Licensee
FERC Project No. 2082 is owned by PacificCorp and is located in southwestern Oregon (Klamath County) and northern California (Siskiyou County). The Project generates 169 MW of electricity from seven hydroelectric developments within the Klamath Hydroelectric Project:
The Klamath developments have a total of 12 turbine-generators; five limited storage reservoirs and five concrete or earth/rockfill dams. The project’s five reservoirs range in size from 40 to about 1,000 surface acres. The 173-foot earth and rockfill dam associated with the Iron Gate project is the tallest dam—it forms the 944-acre Iron Gate Reservoir. As the last development in the sequence of PacifiCorp’s Klamath hydroelectric facilities, Iron Gate serves as a reregulation facility for river flows downstream of the project.
Federally Threatened - Listed Species/ Species of Concern
Northern California (NC) steelhead Distinct Population Segment (DPS) (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and associated critical habitat;
California Coastal (CC) Chinook salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) (O. tshawytscha) and associated critical habitat; and
Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon ESU (O. kisutch) and associated critical habitat.
FERC Relicensing Status
In 2000, the FERC relicensing process was initiated for PacifiCorp's Klamath River project. On February 25, 2004, PacifiCorp filed an application with FERC for a new 50-year license for the Project. PacifiCorp’s application did not include provisions for volitional fish passage. On January 26, 2007, NOAA Fisheries and the Department of the Interior issued modified mandatory prescriptions for fishways and recommended certain fishery protection, mitigation, and enhancement measures in the FERC relicensing proceeding.
For over a decade, the parties worked collaboratively to find solutions to long-standing resource conflicts in the Klamath Basin. The efforts of the parties resulted in three agreements. Two of these, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), took effect on February 18, 2010. The third agreement, the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA), took effect on April 18, 2014. Federal legislation authorizing all three agreements was proposed but was not enacted. As a result, the KHSA could not be implemented.
On April 6, 2016, the States of Oregon and California, PacifiCorp and the Departments of Commerce and Interior signed an amended KHSA. The Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement (KPFA) was also signed on April 6, 2016. Under the amended KHSA, parties agree to pursue its implementation through the administrative process governed by FERC, using existing funding and on the same timeline of dam removal in 2020.
The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) was amended on April 6, 2016. The amended KHSA made several departures from the original agreement. First, it clearly spelled out that the Secretary of the Interior would no longer be responsible for a final decision on Klamath River dam removal; that final decision was shifted to FERC under its existing authority and administrative processes. Second, the KHSA identified the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) as the Dam Removal Entity (DRE), having available up to $450 million dollars from PacifiCorp customers surcharge contributions and State of California bond funding.
The purpose of the funds are “solely for use in accomplishing Facilities Removal, including but not limited to development of the Definite Plan, all necessary permitting and environmental compliance actions, and construction/project management for Facilities Removal”.
Following the reservoir drawdown, project implementation will focus on dam and hydropower facilities removal, recreation facilities removal, creation of new recreation facilities, and restoration of formerly inundated land and other disturbed areas. The project implementation phase is contingent on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of license transfer and license surrender, as well as other regulatory permits.
Klamath River Basin