Water Serves Many Masters in the Klamath Basin

BalancingWater An excellent book about water issues in the Klamath River watershed - Balancing Water: Restoring the Klamath Basin describes the challenges facing an complex ecosystem in Southern Oregon with beautiful imagery and writing. Read the review in Ecology


Klamath River Restoration - Copco Dams

Since it's construction in 1918, the Copco 1 Dam has cut off access to over 75 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat in the main stem of the Klamath River. Seven years later Copco 2 came into being just downstream of Copco 1. These dams blocked salmon migration and significantly altered river flows causing releases to drop by 1,500 percent or more within minutes.

The unnatural flows damaged critical salmon spawning habitat on the Klamath for Spring run chinook and steelhead, stranding adult and young fish alive, exposing egg nests, cementing spawning gravels, and preventing upstream recruitment of new spawning gravels.

Map of Klamath River showing sites of the four dams to be removed

Iron Gate Dam

Construction of Iron Gate Dam in 1962 came with the goals of hydropower and better instream flow regulation of the waters below Copco 2. With those goals came the loss of another 7 miles of spawning grounds for salmon and steelhead.

Iron Gate Dam Klamath River

Read More About the Klamath Restoration Effort