US approves dam removal to save endangered salmon

US approves dam removal to save endangered salmon
Chinook salmon, photo: Canva

The United States (US) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the removal of dams along the California-Oregon border to restore habitat for endangered fish.

The removal of four dams will improve the health of the Klamath River, the route that endangered coho salmon and Chinook salmon take from the Pacific Ocean to their upstream breeding grounds and from where the new-born fish return to the sea.

The project was a goal of native communities whose forefathers have lived off the fish for centuries but whose way of life was affected by European colonization and the demand for regional electric power in the 20th Century.

“The Klamath salmon are coming home,” said Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “The people have earned this victory and with it, we carry on our sacred duty to the fish that have sustained our people since the beginning of time.”

Not only the dams but also climate change and drought have threatened the salmon habitat; the river has become too hot and too full of parasites for the fish living in it to survive.

The removal of the dams is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2024.


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