Klamath River reservoirs now empty; dam removal next

By Jennifer Yachnin | 02/15/2024 04:16 PM EST

The removal of four dams and restoration of the river’s flow is expected to reinvigorate native fish populations.

The Iron Gate Dam powerhouse and spillway.

The Iron Gate Dam powerhouse and spillway are seen on March 2, 2020, on the Lower Klamath River near Hornbrook, California. All four dams on the river are expected to be removed by late August. Gillian Flaccus/AP

The Klamath River is once again flowing through 60 miles of riverbed after a series of reservoirs that once held back its waters have been drained, the nonprofit charged with the nation’s largest dam removal project announced Thursday.

The nonprofit Klamath River Renewal (KRRC) said it expects to begin demolition of three remaining dams on the Lower Klamath River — the J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1. and Iron Gate dams — in May, with the deconstruction finished by late August.

“Our objective is to have completed dam removal and have restored a free-flowing river condition in the September-early October time frame,” said KRRC CEO Mark Bransom. “Our goal is to be completely out of the river in time for the fall run” of salmon and other fish.


In recent months, the nonprofit completed the removal of one dam — Copco No. 2 — and began draining reservoirs behind the remaining structures.