Dam-Free: Indigenous Peoples Reclaim the Klamath River


EcoJustice RadioAn agreement announced in November 2020 paves the way for demolition of four hydroelectric dams on the Lower Klamath River, the largest dam removal in U.S. history. This would reopen hundreds of miles of waterway along the Oregon-California border to Chinook and Coho Salmon restoration, critical and sacred to tribes but have dwindled to almost nothing in recent years.

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Sammy Gensaw, Guardians of the River

Sammy Gensaw from Guardians of the River

In this episode, Regina Chichizola, Co-Director of Save California’s Salmon and Sammy Gensaw, a Yurok fisherman, youth activist & Director of Ancestral Guard, share the heartbreaking and inspiring 20-year journey to undam the Klamath River, which has suffered from low water flows, toxic algal blooms, and fish populations that now face extinction, parasites and disease.

STORY: Flood Control to Free Rivers: The Tale of Water on Tongvalands

The Yurok, Karuk, and other tribes, along with fishing groups and environmentalists, had hoped to see demolition work begin as soon as 2022. The latest plan makes Oregon and California equal partners in the demolition with a nonprofit entity, called the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, and adds $45 million to the project’s $450 million budgets. Oregon, California and the utility PacifiCorp, which operates the hydroelectric dams and is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, will each provide one-third of the additional funds — and the Klamath will once again be dam-free.

STORY: On Wild Rivers, Hydroelectric Dams, and Whitewater Rafting the American

Klamath River Dam Removal

Check out Guardians of the River: https://www.americanrivers.org/rivers/films/guardians-of-the-river/
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Interview by Carry Kim
Intro by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 88
Photo courtesy of Save California’s Salmon

Undam the Klamath River

Updated 4 February 2021

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt