KLAMATH REGION – KRRC is pleased that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of the Klamath River Renewal project.
FERC staff recommended approval of the proposed license surrender, decommissioning, and removal of the project with staff modifications and mandatory conditions.
The final EIS notes that “Project removal and implementation of mitigation measures proposed in management plans would protect environmental resources, restore project lands, minimize adverse effects, maximize benefits to protected fish, and restore the landscape of the areas that are currently impounded within the project reach to a more natural state.”
FERC noted that, if authorized by the Commission, license surrender would only become effective after all measures required by the surrender order are adequately completed.
Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), said that KRRC and its partners are reviewing the 800+ page final EIS that describes the impacts and benefits of the project and adds further recommendations and conditions. He added that the final EIS largely mirrors the very positive draft EIS issued back in February 2022.
“KRRC is heartened by FERC’s thorough and timely environmental review of the project”, said Bransom, “Once all the necessary approvals are obtained, including a License Surrender Order, it will be full speed ahead to commence the largest dam removal and river restoration effort in U.S. history.” Pending final regulatory approvals, KRRC expects dam removal activity to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2024, with the return of the river to a free-flowing condition. KRRC will commence restoration activities immediately following dam removal and restoration of the project footprint will continue for several years.
The final EIS can be viewed on KRRC website here.
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2016 as part of the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). KRRC is part of a cooperative effort to re-establish the natural vitality of the Klamath River so that it can support all communities in the basin. Signatories of the amended KHSA incude the states of California and Oregon, local governments, tribal nations, dam owner PacifiCorp, irrigators, and several conservation and fishing groups. KRRC was formed for the sole purpose of taking ownership of four PacifiCorps dams—J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1 & 2, and Iron Gate—and then removing these dams, restoring formerly inundated lands, and implementing required mitigation measures in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations. KRRC’s work is funded by PacifiCorp customer surcharges and California Proposition 1 water bond funds.
KRRC values transparency and cooperation with all stakeholders and is committed to working with residents and governments to minimize any nuisance or negative impacts while enhancing the project’s local benefits.