Gov. Newsom’s Dam Removal Destroys Klamath River, Salmon

The alleged environmentalist California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has wreaked devastation — and perhaps extinction — on the salmon population of the Klamath River.

The breaching of three dams on the California – Oregon border in January has left the river filled with all manner of pollution, including decaying algae, silt, chemicals, and dead, decaying fish.

Ironically, the project’s stated intention was to save the salmon by restoring the natural river and allowing the fish to sign upstream. Gov. Newsom caved to pressure from so-called environmental groups that do not understand aquatic ecosystems.

Newsom claimed to represent local American Indian tribes who rely on the salmon. He wrote a letter imploring Warren Buffet, whose PacificCorp utilities company controlled the hydroelectric dams, to back the demolition: “The river is sick, and the Klamath Basin tribes are suffering.”

After what is believed to be the largest dam removal in American history, the Klamath River is now a toxic, rancid flow of sludge littered with tens of thousands of dead fish. The river was described in as converted into mud “the color and consistency of chocolate cake batter.”

In a statement to the California Globe Siskiyou County Supervisor Ray Haupt said: “I’ve been around natural disasters all of my life, and I’ve never seen anything like this. The river is essentially dead, as is everything in it.” The spawning beds and ecosystem required for the salmon ever to return are likely destroyed.

Haupt also observed that the sediment plume extends two miles into the ocean. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) noted that homes along the river may be compromised by bank erosion, and that area drinking wells are running dry. Many residents also mourn the loss of Copco Lake.

In addition to the fish extinction event, animals such as deer have gotten stuck in the deep, thick mud and had to be euthanized by wildlife officials.

Many high school students have been taught about sediment and silt build-up behind dams, particularly those over 100 years old. They could have predicted the sort of disaster that would ensue following the abrupt blasting away of concrete plugs holding back a century of accumulated debris along with the water.

Some of the same students also have learned that spiral fish ladders have been used successfully to allow salmon to swim upstream past dams. Perhaps the $450 million it cost to breach these dams destructively could have been spent on retrofitting such ladders.

Gov. Newsom’s response has been to request a “Federal Fishery Disaster Declaration” and federal funding to help fix the mess.

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