Featured News, Siskiyou

Will The Klamath River Ecosystem Survive Dam Removal?

EIN NEWS: Klamath River Dams: KRRC’s Proposed Dam Removal Project – Minority Consensus For Environmental And Ecological Disaster

Mark Branscum the CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, aka ‘KRRC’ is out of his depth and in uncharted waters with no map, compass or sextant. And so are all of his contractors.

And Dave Coffman project leader for Resource Environmental Services (‘RES’) is just along for the $-million dollar ride, seemingly without a care for the needless, unnecessary and excessive ‘takings’ of wildlife, easily preventable with the barrier fences that they (KRRC & RES) promised that would be accompanied by alternative water sources for wildlife, horses and other livestock. 

That years long promise made to numerous Siskiyou County officials, and residents was recently and suddenly rolled-back during the Special Meeting of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23rd, 2024, when representatives from KRRC and RES told the Board that they were rolling-back the plans and may not provide any fencing or alternative water sources for wildlife or livestock (horses and cattle). 

These Corporations were forewarned in writing of consequences of exposing the clay mud, and are well aware of the result of reneging on their promises: animals will try crossing the deep, sticky mud to reach the water they have a right to have, and die.  It’s as if they don’t care if they are using water to trap the wildlife and livestock in the mud.

Branscum and Coffman, both avoid and downplay the hard realities and their unacceptable behavior, instead hoping the money being spread around will also influence others to also overlook this form of ecoterrorism. 

And they continue spewing unproven and unsupported conjectured benefits of dam removal they claim may appear sometime in the future, in a decade or so when they are all long-gone, and Oregon and California are left holding the sack of crap. 

And even in the face of the obviously monumental unknowns, coupled with the very real and ongoing disaster and widespread loss of economic value (private and public) during this entire process, KRRC and RES continue to ignore and snub the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, and maybe worse, the Citizens of the County and the ‘disadvantaged communities’ of Hornbrook, Iron Gate Lake and Copco Lake.  

People living at Copco Lake that bought lakefront homes and retired after working a lifetime, planning on watching the wildlife on the lake and their grandkids fishing, now have a view of the wildlife they love, struggling and dying slow anguishing deaths in front their very eyes, daily…   It’s surreal horror show that will continue for years, since the mud is only being scoured in the very middle of the lakes in the old river channel, amounting to maybe 10-15% of the total mud in the footprint of the lakes, which will remain. 

The Army Corp of Engineers estimated there was somewhere between 20-million and 60-million metric yards of clay-mud in the two lakes (Copco & Iron Gate). The breach of the dams and torrent of water released was ‘expected’ to drive about 5-7-million yards of polluted mud down the Klamath River to the sea, which killed all the aquatic life. 

That leaves about 13 (low) – 53 (high) – million metric yards of clay-mud in the former lake bottoms… Lets take the middle ground of 33-million metric yards remaining … and without a massive torrent of water, the mud on both sides of the center of the old river channel through the lowest part of the lakes, 33-million yards of mud,  will just sit there, and slowly leach into the River for decades to come…  a slow drip of toxins and turbidity. 

And how will that effect the River? 

Bottom line, the remaining clay mud will take decades to be washed into the river and out to sea via rain and runoff, and as it does, it will continue polluting the river with excessive turbidity and dissolved phosphates and nitrates that are encased in the soft clay. This will produce a eutrophic river, especially during later summer and fall.

And as horrific as all that is, the wells of the good folks living around the lakes are failing as KRRC and the so-called Mitigation Fund ignore their pleas, letters and phone calls…. 

Of course Branscum is always quick to return the calls to NEWS people so he can spew more of his deceptions on air, continuing the mass deception to those who don’t know the facts.

Many animals sink down and die, never to be seen … or filmed.

See images posted from Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/384246450824754, below:

A fawn dead in the mud…. having died a painful dead.
More dead deer today. Trying to get it out there. Been dealing with this for several hours today, Ryan Nowakowski8 dead deer who struggled in the thick mud for hours before they finally died.
Klamath River water samples from down river, well below the dams. From Lynda Leach: https://www.facebook.com/groups/384246450824754/user/1103328757/

Klamath River Turbidity down river from the dams has been running at an incredible 200+ nephlometric turbidity units (ntu). Science taken from agnostic studies in Alaskan streams and rivers show that when NTU’s reach 25-ntu and above, fish eggs and fish survival start suffering…  For the past week, the Klamath River has been running over 200-ntu!  More about that:
1. Sediments: 


2. Klamath Turbidity Measurements upon dams breach: https://www.siskiyou.news/2024/01/27/klamath-river-flows-and-turbidity-with-drawdown/

This video shows hundreds of acres of what I call ‘quick-mud’, which is like quick sand only very sticky. It holds you and sucks you down. 


Jeff Ralston filmed an American icon, an adult eagle struggling in the mud during it’s last minutes of life…


For questions, information, or just the plain unvarnished facts, contact William E. Simpson II <– he has a front-row seat to this evolving disaster since he lives on the shore of what was once the magical Iron Gate Lake… filled with fish, frogs, turtles, salamanders, birds, and nitrate-phosphate mitigating blue-green algae.

William E. Simpson II – Naturalist – Wildlife Researcher:  Phone: 858. 212-5762

email:  [email protected]



  1. John C. Berggreen

    “There will very little or NO Sediment” released”. MY ASS, well I hope all these so-called experts are happy now. But they are not because they do no wrong. Hope the Indians catch lots of fish down river so they can sustain their way of life.

  2. My reading of the history of the Klamath showed it very hard hit by the fur trade, when Russian and European fur traders paid the natives for beaver skins. Prior, the river’s rate of erosion was lowered by a profusion of beaver habitat (dams and ponds) and after, rapid erosion turned it into a completely different river. For those fans of this who think we’re returning the river to it’s natural state, that won’t happen without a hundred years of unmolested beaver expansion.

  3. Allan Schmidt

    I grew up in Happy Camp in the early 70’s, I legally fished large salmon runs in the spring and fall. I have no problem with the Indians right to subsistance fish the river. I have a problem with the Indians making a profit selling salmon and steelhead from gill netting all the fish at the mouth of the Klamath river. The fish runs have declined slowly year after year because of constant overfishing at the mouth. Very few cold running spawning creeks and streams above Irongate dam. Removing the dam has now destroyed the Klamath River ecosystem . I suggest legal action against the lower and upper Klamath river Indian tribes.

  4. I was vigilantly opposed to the dam removal. A mere 37 years ago we were peacefully protesting the construction of the “Salt Caves Dam” on the Upper Klamath. Such contrast. Since keeping them was fruitless, my thoughts changed to “I hope they were right taking them out”. It appears all predictions were wrong. The loss of wildlife in the mud is heartbreaking, the loss of fish is yet to be learned.

  5. Jerome Horowitz

    So now Bill Simpson is a hydrologist, ethologist, restoration ecologist and star of the Doomsday Preppers show. A true renaissance man. All without any formal training in these fields. Inpressive.

    • Avatar photo Jay A. Martin

      Study history… formal training… Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, “LOL” Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and I believe Elon.. And how many countless others.

  6. Gail Honadle

    The late Jeff Head who wrote the first story, The Stand at Klamath Falls, would be appalled. Netflix has a factual movie called The Stand, about the ranch seizures.

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