Copco dam, on the upper Klamath River, is one of four PacifiCorp dams slated for removal.

Copco dam, on the upper Klamath River, is one of four PacifiCorp dams slated for removal.

Amelia Templeton / EARTHFIX

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Klamath River tribes have been advocating for the removal of four large dams along the river for nearly 20 years. The dams — one in Oregon and three in California — were built in 1918. Before the dams, tribes had stewarded and fished from the Klamath River for thousands of years. But after the dams were built, the health and number of fish in the river dramatically decreased. In 2010, tribes joined the company that owns the dams and other stakeholders in an agreement to remove the dams in 2020. The plan was later delayed to 2022, and now it may stall again because of a recent decision by federal regulators. We hear from Amy Bowers Cordalis, general counsel for the Yurok Tribe, about the river’s history and what’s going on with the dam removal project.

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