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Four dams along the Klamath River will be removed

Removing the dams will take about a year because they slowly have to increase the river height.

Posted: Apr 29, 2019 6:21 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2019 12:15 PM

HORNBROOK, Calif. — Four dams along the Klamath River could be removed as early as January of 2021.

Removing the dams will take about a year because they slowly have to increase the river height.

"The goal is to draw the reservoir simultaneously 3 to 5 feet per day over about a 2 to 2 1/2 month period . . . so kind of a gentle draw down," said Dave Meurer, community liaison for the Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

Meurer told NewsWatch 12 that there are many concerns about these dams being removed — the biggest one having to do with electricity. They are, after all, hydroelectric dams, built to create electricity.

"A good question we receive is 'won't it cost me a fortunate in electricity once these dams go away,' and the answer is no," Meurer said. He also insists that the dams will be replaced with green energy.

Larry Alameda is a water quality monitor. He spends some of his time at the Iron Gate Dam in Hornbrook.

"I was visualizing this big giant dam like Shasta Dam but it's just this little tiny earth dam that's causing so many water quality impacts downstream," Alameda said. "Every year we are seeing elevated temperature levels from these dams holding back all of this hot water and its basically releasing hot water into the river."

When water heats up it can grow algae. Muerer says this happens every year because water just sits behind the dam and heats up. This in return has an impact on the wildlife in the river. Muerer and Alameda agree that removing the dams will fix the fish and water quality problems.

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