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  • Writer's pictureBrook

Indigenous advocates for removal of Klamath Dams speak out against hydropower at COP27

November 15, 2022

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Hydropower dams are extremely detrimental to wildlife populations like salmon, Thompson said, and no one has yet figured out how to properly transport adult salmon beyond the dams to spawn or help younger salmon cross the barrier to get to the ocean.

“Thousands are spent trying to find solutions to this and they disturb fish species, which then in turn disrupts the entire ecosystem,” Thompson said.

On top of that, the reservoirs behind the dam don’t allow for natural sediment flow, further disrupting species that rely on that flow of nutrients, she said.

“The water, when it sits still behind the reservoirs, becomes warm,” Thompson said. “That becomes a breeding ground for parasites and carcinogenic algae. The dissolved oxygen also becomes lower because of the heated water, which aquatic animals need to breathe. And then in addition to all of this, water is also lost through evaporation sitting behind the dams.”

When dams are created, there is no plan or design for them to be removed, forcing the burden for removal onto future generations, Thompson said. Most dams have a design life that lasts longer than the civil engineers who constructed them.

“Because of this, there is little incentive to spend extra money to design how these dams will be taken out,” Thompson said.

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