Tuesday May 7, 2024

Daily Tidings

It was an emotional moment for activists and members of the Karuk and Yurok Tribes who gathered at the Iron Gate Dam to witness the first shovel of dirt being removed from the dam wall. This was the culmination of decades of petitioning for the removal of the dams which were responsible for the decline of the salmon population, a fish sacred to tribe members who regard the fish as a gift from God.

The Iron Gate Dam on the border between Oregon and California, is an earthen dam with a 173-foot wall. The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) began the deconstruction work after receiving permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The project began with the removal of the first 13 feet of the dam wall from the top of the wall.

The KRRC CEO, Mark Bransom, describes the deconstruction as the “culmination of two decades of activism.” He says construction reviews, engineering, and planning led to the moment when the first scoop of earth was removed from the dam wall. Bransom says removed rocks, clay, and sand will be transported by dump trucks to a nearby ‘borrow pit’ that was created in the early 1960s when material was removed for the original construction of the Iron Gate Dam. About 20% of the debris will fill in the concrete spillway adjacent to the dam, on the northern side of the Klamath River.

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