America removes 4 dams to make way for “salmon”.
A US commission working to restore habitats for endangered fish yesterday gave final approval for the decommissioning of four dams on the California-Oregon border, the largest dam removal in US history.
The removal of the dams is expected to improve the health of the Klamath River, the route that endangered Chinook and Coho salmon take from the Pacific Ocean to their upstream spawning grounds and from where the juvenile fish return to the sea.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an executive order renouncing dam licenses and authorizing the removal of dams.
The project has long been the target of several indigenous tribes whose ancestors subsisted on salmon for centuries, but whose way of life was disrupted by European settlement and demands for rural electrification in the 20th century.
“The Klamath salmon are coming home,” Yorok chief Joseph James said in a statement. Humans have won this victory, and with it we fulfill our sacred duty to the fish that have nourished our people since the beginning of time.
Climate change and drought have also affected salmon habitats, as the river has become too warm and parasitic for many fish to survive.
According to Reuters, the dams, which will be built on federal land and will provide electricity to around 70,000 homes at full capacity, will be handed over to Pacific Electric Corp., a unit of Berkshire Hathaway.
Faced with costly new regulations that included building levees and ladders for fish, the company instead reached an agreement with the tribes and the US government to shut down the levees.
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