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Mulholland’s Ghost and the Klamath River 

The Los Angeles assault on the water resources of the west

Image courtesy – Cadillac Desert – Mulholland’s Dream

William Mulholland was born in Belfast Ireland in 1855, and died in Los Angeles at the age of 79 in 1935. He was a brilliant man.

Mulholland rose in rank quickly from being an immigrant ditch digger in the dilapidated water ditches supplying Los Angeles. In 1886, he became the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Water System. And soon thereafter, through his unrelenting acquisition of water for Los Angeles, he also became a very wealthy and powerful man.

By 1903, Los Angeles had grown beyond its means, and water was in very short supply. It’s only water supply, the Los Angeles River had been sucked dry.

For the past 120-years, Los Angeles’ insatiable need for water has been like a vampire, sucking the life-blood water from neighboring regions, starting with the Owens Valley in California to the north of LA.

Today, L.A. County has more people than 40 states!

Then, after tapping all the water in the Owens valley, Los Angeles turned its sights on the Colorado River and it’s water.

Soon, Mono Lake, 100-miles north of Owens Valley was tapped for LA’s endless thirst for more and more water.

Image from historic Mulholland plans – courtesy Cadillac Desert – Mulholland’s Dream

Then in 1966, Los Angeles acquired the water rights to the Feather River, 600-miles to the north of Los Angeles. Yet, planners in Los Angeles wanted even more water, and there were talks about reaching as far north as Alaska, the Columbia River and the Klamath River began in earnest. 

By 1974, the formerly lush Owens Valley, formerly known as the Switzerland of California, had the worst particulate pollution in the entire country, as a result of LA’s lust for water.

And by 1976, Los Angeles had used so much water from Mono Lake, the water level in that lake had dropped by 40-feet! 

Now, without any genuine logic or reason for collapsing a vibrant ecosystem and trading the lives of millions of wildlife for the possibility of a better salmon run on the Klamath River, we find that the life-giving waters of Copco and Iron Gate Lakes have been drained.  And the dams that were created for the greater good of the vast majority of millions of Americans in several counties and two states are being demolished, unleashing an environmental and socioeconomic disaster of epic proportions!

The now proven result of this grand deception is an unparalleled devastation of wildlife! 

Tens of thousands of migratory birds will no longer have the respite and sustenance from Copco and Iron Gate Lakes along their flyway. 

Courtesy video: Copco Lake – A valuable and vital water resource

Tragically, thousands of migratory and resident birds will perish. 

Drone Photo William Simpson: Dead fish laying on sediment mud Klamath River (2-3-24)

Aquatic life in the Klamath River has been decimated along the entirety of the 187-miles of Klamath River as and below Copco and Iron Gate Lakes, to the Pacific Ocean.

Even the heartiest fish (bluegill, crappie, catfish) that are well accustomed to warm water with minimal dissolved oxygen are now dead and dying in the now heavily contaminated Klamath River.  

This video shows the deadly sediments and a few of the tens of thousands of dying fish: Klamath River Fish Dying.MP4

Large mammals are being trapped in the deep muddy clay sediments that are now exposed by the drained lakes. Residents are horror struck as the sight of entire families of deer being caught in the deadly mud, struggle and die, just trying to reach the water now bordered on all sides by hundreds of acres of what might be termed ‘quick-mud’

Part of a family of 8-deer that struggled and died painfully in deadly clay-mud. The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (‘KRRC’) and its contractor Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), knew the extensive mud sediments would pose a deadly hazard to all wildlife and livestock, and had promised Siskiyou County officials and many others for a year prior to draining the lakes that they would provide fencing and alternative water to minimized loss of wildlife and livestock. In a recent January 23, 2024 Board of Supervisors Special Meeting, the representative of KRRC and RES suddenly reneged on that promise and said they were reconsidering. This is just a small sampling of the daily carnage. Photo courtesy Chrissie Reynolds.

“The crimes committed in the name of the future, against the future “ 

~ Robert Towne – screenwriter, Chinatown (a quote from ‘Mulholland’s Dream’)

Why?   The simple answer is Money.

Former Klamath River Renewal Corporation (‘KRRC’) board member and lawyer Glen Spain said, “Economics Not Salmon Is the Reason PacifiCorp is Removing the Dams”. Was it a coincidence that he suddenly left the KRRC board after making that statement?
More at EIN NEWS: Compelling Facts Condemn KRRC’s Proposed Klamath River Dam Removal Plan


George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Was the Owens Lake water ripoff and the disastrous impacts on the ranchers-farmers and citizens there too far in the rearview mirror for most Americans to remember?

Is it too late for the citizens-ranchers-farmers in Siskiyou County, California? How about for Klamath County Oregon? 

In the book by brilliant architect-engineer John Boyle titled ’50 Years On the Klamath’, Mr. Boyle outlined a scheme from 1948 to send water from the Klamath Basin to the San Joaquin Valley California. Boyle’s book outlines the plan suggested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as bypassing the Klamath River and the Copco and Iron Gate Lakes, and instead using an existing Oregon diversion dam to send Klamath Basin water to Tule Lake and from there through a tunnel that would be drilled through the mountains to the south and into the Pitt River, which then empties into the Sacramento River. Interestingly, that diversion dam is not being removed from the Klamath River.

Ever wonder why the last few California governors want to build a $-billion dollar tunnel (first the twin tunnel, then mono-tunnel) under the Sacramento delta to connect the lower Sacramento River to the California Aqueduct? What do they know?

The Sacramento River barely has enough water as it is, so why would anyone want to connect it to the California Aqueduct?… Unless you knew of a way to add a lot more water to its headwaters. Is Mulholland’s ghost alive and well, and still seeking water for Los Angeles?

The very interesting documentary video (watch free on YouTube) called ‘Mulholland’s Dream’ is most illuminating and WELL WORTH the time to watch it! 

Mulholland’s Dream

One Comment

    Glen Canyon and all other of the other large reservoirs are each accumulating mud at a rate of 100 million tonnes annually ( / U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)
    This is 56 cubic kilometers of sediment accumulating each year world wide

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