Featured News, Siskiyou

7 Million Cubic Yards of Dead Algae and Mud to be flushed out to Sea From PP&L Dams

So How Much Is One Million Cubic Yards?

One Million Yards of litter from Californias Roadsides is enough to build two stacks of trash from the Earth’s surface to beyond the International Space Station, 250 miles in orbit. according to the Office of Governor.

Irongate Dam 📸siskiyou news

Here in Siskiyou, a county larger than Connecticut and Delaware with 8, yes eight stoplights. According to Shasta Shaman John Brennen, retired Military Engineer. One Million Cubic Yards is roughly the size of Iron Gate Dam quoted Ray Haupt, District 5 Siskiyou County Supervisor. So with the largest dam removal project in history with an estimated 17 to 20 million yards behind the 4 dams. Using a slower controlled releases of 3-4000 cubic feet per minute of water when winter flows average 6000cfm with the goal to only and have to flush 5-7 million cubic yards of material down, down, down to the pacific ocean. This is all being done without flooding or loss of property downriver.

Yes, 5 – 7 earthen dams worth of material…

The Elwha River is a relatively short (72-km long), high gradient river flowing north out of the Olympic Mountains into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Strait of Juan de Fuca generates large tidal currents that regularly exceed 1 m/s or 2.23 miles per hour near the Elwha River delta (Warrick and Stevens, 2011).

Here is a series of slide of the mud from the Elwha that seams to be the measuring stick they like to compare to. We hear it a lot around when asking the questions about sediment and mud behind the dams flushing out to sea.

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Between water years 2011 and 2015 the Elwha River discharged roughly 14 Million tons of suspended sediment to the coastal waters, composed of ~58% silt and clay, and ~42% sand, and roughly 5 Mt of sand and gravel bedload.

Guardians Of the River

In this film by American Rivers and Swiftwater Films, Indigenous leaders share why removing four dams to restore a healthy Klamath River is critical for clean water, food sovereignty and justice. “Guardians of the River” features Frankie Joe Myers, Vice Chair of the Yurok Tribe, Sammy Gensaw, director of Ancestral Guard, Barry McCovey, fisheries biologist with the Yurok Tribe, and members of the Ancestral Guard and Klamath Justice Coalition.

Dams and Dam Removal

  • There are more than 500,000 dams in the U.S. Less than three percent of dams in the U.S. are
    hydropower dams and less than 17 percent provide flood protection.
  • Outdated, obsolete dams threaten public safety: 85 percent of the nation’s dams are more than
    50 years old, which is the average design life of a dam.
  • Aging dams are at increased risk of failure, particularly during increasingly severe storms and
    flooding fueled by climate change. For example, at least 87 dams have failed in South Carolina
    during storms and hurricanes since 2015.
  • Hydropower dams and reservoirs are a source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 80
    times more potent than carbon dioxide.
  • Dams are a leading reason for the alarming loss of freshwater biodiversity. Seven dams on the
    Coosa River in Alabama have caused more than thirty freshwater species to go extinct –
    making it one of North America’s worst mass wildlife extinctions on record. Historically, the river
    was habitat for 147 species of fish, 91 species of snail, and 53 species of mussels.
  • More than 2,025 dams have been removed with benefits for river health, fish and wildlife, and
    public safety.
  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act committed $2.4 billion for the removal, retrofit and
    rehabilitation of dams. The $800 million secured for dam removal is just 10 percent of the $8
    billion need to address aging, uneconomic dams that could be removed.


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