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NW Fishletter #386, Oct. 2, 2018
 Oregon DEQ Issues Certification For Klamath Dam Removal
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a final water quality certification for the removal of J.C. Boyle Dam in Oregon, finding that dismantling the dam on the Klamath River will improve water quality in the long run. The Klamath River Renewal Corp. (KRRC), which expects to decommission four dams on the Klamath River--including three more in California--called the certification a "major milestone."
Formed to take over operations of the four dams from PacifiCorp and oversee the removal and river restoration work, the Renewal Corp. still must win a water quality certification from the California State Water Resources Control Board to remove Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and Iron Gate dams in Siskiyou County, Calif., which is expected in 2019. It also needs Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to transfer a project license for the lower four dams from PacifiCorp and approval to surrender the transferred license for decommissioning.
Depending on the timing of those approvals, KRRC plans to begin site preparations in mid-2020, with removal work to begin in 2021. According to its Definite Plan filed with FERC in June, reservoirs behind the dams would be drawn down slowly, over a period of two or three months. Dam removal and river restoration work would take five to ten years, and is expected to cost an estimated $397.7 million.
Oregon's water quality certification comes after an extensive evaluation of the potential impacts to water quality in the Klamath River, and aquatic species, during and after the dam's removal. With conditions, it affirms that the project will comply with the state standards for water quality, and the federal Clean Water Act. Mitigation measures will include developing plans for water quality management, reservoir area management, site restoration, erosion and sediment control, spill responses, waste disposal, and measures to protect fish passage, suckers, and the western pond turtle. -K.C. Mehaffey
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