Historically, the Klamath River was the third largest salmon-producing river on the West Coast of the continental United States. The river’s rich resources and surrounding watershed have sustained native people since time immemorial. The health of the Klamath Basin ecosystem is intertwined with the well-being and identity of native people throughout the watershed, including the Yurok and Karuk people. Agricultural development, water diversions, resource extraction, over-fishing, and dams have degraded the river ecosystem and caused dramatic declines to native fish populations. The indigenous people of the Klamath Basin have suffered greatly as the river’s health and fisheries have declined. In a historic effort to restore ecosystem function and fisheries, four Klamath River hydroelectric dams are slated for removal, representing the largest dam removal effort in US history.
Despite the unprecedented scope of the Klamath dam removal, formal coordination of dam removal research and monitoring has been limited. The Klamath River Basin, along with the dams slated for removal, straddle two states, a prominent mountain range, and the jurisdiction and interest of numerous state, federal, and tribal natural resource and land management agencies. With less than two years until the anticipated start of dam removal (2023 as of the time this publication), there is an urgent need to identify and prioritize research questions, plan data collection that will address these pressing questions, and begin collecting data in an efficient and well-coordinated manor.Keyword Tags: