WESTERN WATER-Amid Nation’s Largest Dam Removal Project, Scientists Chart Klamath River’s Transformation and Its Salmon
Read our Western Water In-Depth, Water Word of the Day and Five Don't-Miss Water Reads from Across the West
Dear Western Water readers:
For the past century the Klamath — a name derived from a Native American term for swiftness — hasn’t been free-flowing or flush with salmon due to a series of hydroelectric dams. The Klamath’s ecological vitality has diminished along with longstanding tribal connections to the river.
Now, after decades of tireless negotiating among myriad parties, the Klamath is being given a chance to return to a more natural state. The largest dam removal project ever undertaken is underway near the California-Oregon border.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure how the river’s ecosystem will respond — a river restoration plan of this size has never been tried — but they are pouncing on the opportunity to find out.
The latest Western Water article explores the questions scientists are trying to answer as the dams come out and the leading role tribes are playing in returning the iconic western river to a more natural state. Read the full story here.
Water Around the West
Five don’t-miss articles from California and across the West:
Google’s water use is soaring. AI is only going to make it worse: Google data centers used 20 percent more water in 2022 as the California-based tech giant continued developing its artificial intelligence capabilities, reports Insider’s Hugh Langley.
Don’t call it ‘toilet to tap’ — California plans to turn sewage into drinking water: CalMatters’ Rachel Becker explains a new proposal from the California State Water Resources Control Board that would allow purified sewage to be piped directly into tap water supplies.
Tribes promised a voice in Colorado River negotiations: Federal and state officials say tribes will have an enhanced role in crafting the next set of Colorado River operating guidelines, writes Heather Sackett for Aspen Journalism.
Extreme weather raises risk for California tomato growers: Wet weather forced tomatoes to be planted later than usual and now farmers are worried about bottlenecks at processing plants later this summer, CBS News Bay Area reports.
What happened to California’s salmon season this year?: KQED’s Danielle Venton outlines the contributing factors behind the cancellation of California’s chinook salmon fishing season, including critics’ claim that the state prioritized farms over fish.
Water Word of the Day
As a supplement to the new Western Water article, check out our Klamath River Basin Chronology. The comprehensive timeline covers the basin’s developmental milestones, major water disputes, landmark agreements and the catastrophic 2002 fish kill. You can read more about the basin and other water issues in Aquapedia, our online water encyclopedia.
At the Foundation
Don’t miss the Foundation’s special, one-time only Eastern Sierra Tour September 12-15. Participants will explore the Truckee, Carson and Walker rivers before heading south to Mono Lake and into the Mojave Desert. Experts will touch on the geology and history of the Eastern Sierra, the Mono Lake ecosystem and the operation of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. This 3-day, 3-night tour is only being offered by the Foundation once so book your seat now! Check our Water Tours page to learn more about each tour and find out where else we’re going in 2023.
For more on one of the West’s most iconic rivers, check out our beautiful Klamath River Watershed Map. This frameable 24×36-inch map features the rivers, lakes, farmland and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Basin, and explains many of the issues facing the vast watershed. Get a copy of the poster map here.