Follow-up on Un-Damming the Klamath River

Follow-up on Un-Damming the Klamath River:

Tell the California Water Board: Un-Dam the Klamath!
Quickly send a message demanding a clean, dam-free river.

For the last four years PacifiCorp’s Klamath dams have created one of the worst toxic algae problems ever recorded. This month the State Water Board will begin deciding if relicensing these dams is consistent with the Clean Water Act. It’s time to tell them PacifiCorp’s dams should NOT receive the clean water certification they need in order to be relicensed by the federal government.

Send a message to the Water Board from our website.

Successul legal action from Klamath Riverkeeper forced the US EPA to list the algal toxin Microcystin as a pollutant, and forced California to regulate PacifiCorp. The state is now reviewing the issue through a special Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This EIR will determine if the dams are issued clean water certification known as a 401 permit, or if they are removed.  

The 401 permit may be the single most crucial process within the movement to un-dam the Klamath.  If California denies PacifiCorp’s clean water permit for the dams, it is likely that the only realistic solution to the algae pollution is dam removal. Right now, the Water Board is taking “scoping” comments on the Klamath dams’ EIR – the public must tell them what factors must be considered before a “401” clean water permit is issued.  Send an email, fax, write, or call Jennifer Watts at the State Water Board by November 17th.

Download talking points
Toxic algae facts to consider
401 Permit Frequently Asked Questions
Download the Klamath Hydroelectric Project EIR Scoping Notice
More info on dams and toxic algae on the Klamath

Write, fax, or call the Water Board
Attention: Jennifer Watts
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 2000
Sacramento, CA 95812-2000
Phone: (916) 341-5397
Fax: (916) 341-5400
Email: Klamath River Algae Health Advisory

Facts to consider:

  • Water samples from PacifiCorp’s reservoirs have contained levels of the toxic algae Microcystis aeruginosa 4000 times the concentration considered by the World Health Organization to be a moderate risk to human health.
  • The toxin produced by M. aeruginosa is now listed by the US EPA as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act in the sections of the Klamath River containing PacifiCorp’s reservoirs.
  • Reservoir gamefish bioaccumulate these algae-associated toxins in their flesh.Yellow Perch fillets harvested from areas where the algae blooms are hazardous to human consumption.
  • Last year, 190 river miles wereposted with health warnings when the toxic algae blooms were released from PacifICorp’s reservoirs into the river.
  • PacifiCorp has known about its algae problems for 5+ years but has not taken serious action to solve the problem.
  • Releases of toxic algae into the river impact the three downriver Native Tribes, whose subsistence foods are contaminated by the algae and ceremonies are interrupted by river closures.
  • Toxic algae in the river impacts the Klamath’s recreational businesses, who depend on clean water for rafting and fishing.
  • In addition to creating toxic conditions on the Klamath, PacifiCorp’s dams illegally block fish from 300 miles of habitat, and kill the majority of the Klamath’s juvenile Chinook by causing widespread fish disease.
  • Aerial photos of the Klamath algae problem
  • YouTube: Klamath Toxic Algae Story
  • Report: Bioaccumulation in Klamath fish and mussels
  • Press Release: Klamath Riverkeeper legal victory forces EPA to regulate toxic algae
  • More studies and info on Klamath dams & toxic algae

Toxic algae in PacifiCorp’s reservoirs is best addressed by Klamath dam removal, a solution supported by all four Klamath River Tribes, prominent fisheries and hydrology scientists, state and federal agencies, and Upper Basin irrigators’ associations. Chemical algicide, the “band-aid” PacifICorp is currently testing, will only compound toxicity and disease problems on the river.