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The White Outlines of Murder – Death of the Klamath River and Her Lakes

I am living on the shore of a once vibrant and beautiful lake, Iron Gate Lake (above)

But greed, driving deception and misrepresentation have changed a once vibrant ecosystem into an environmental murder scene.

Now, like the white chalk outline drawn around the body of a murder victim, the sad remains of the murdered Copco and Iron Gate lakes are outlined by their white shorelines, guts laid bare by the loss of their life giving waters and tens of millions of sentient beings now dead, or will soon die as the ecosystem collapses.

Copco Lake (above) as well as Iron Gate Lake contain tens of millions of tons of toxic clay sediment that didn’t get moved down River as planned. Now they will pose an ongoing hazard to life in the river as they erode under the winter rains over the next decades! Photo: William E. Simpson II

Through the reckless, greedy actions and poor planning, KRRC disregarded the sage scientific advice to keep the Klamath Dams in place, and if the dams has to go, then to remove the polluted clay-mud sediments before draining Copco and Iron Gate Lakes. 

Now these lakes have become a massive depositories of hazardous polluted clay-mud, that is killing wildlife. And every year when the rains come in the fall and winter, these massive mud-flats will release microcrystalline clay particles into the Klamath River, as well as the formerly sequestered phosphates and nitrates for decades to come. And this deadly combination of events will occur annually, just as the fish are coming into the Klamath River to spawn. This is truly the perfect storm that will end the formerly decent fish run on the Klamath River.

As the lakes drained, tens of thousands of fish died, and are decomposing. These tens of thousands of fish had provided a major food source for both aquatic and terrestrial animals, as well as for numerous species of birds, ranging from Cormorants, Herons, California Pelicans, Eagles (Golden and Bald), Osprey, Fishers, and many others. The juveniles (fry) of these fish also fed larger game fish up and down the River.  Photo: William E. Simpson II

We see that Klamath River dam removal proponents cite Hamilton often. However, his work is flawed and questionable at best. CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHY




“The decision to remove four dams on the Klamath River has raised numerous concerns about the negative impact on the ecosystem’s health and the determent of fish populations over the next 10 years.

It is hard to fathom that the Klamath Reclamation Project farmers, who’s actions between 1905 and 2000 created better flows and water quality than natural conditions would have allowed, have been unnecessarily regulated since 2001. How is this abrupt massive ecological collapse in the Klamath and Tule Lake refuges and the Klamath River acceptable to the American public?

The removal of the dams has resulted in a sudden release of sediment and other contaminants that have accumulated behind the dams, which is harmful to fish and other aquatic species and has created problems for terrestrial animals and waterfowl to gain access to water sources they have evolved to depend upon.

Dam removal advocates said we should expect dam removal to result in improved water quality and access to suitable fish habitats. We are concerned that the process has led to an ecological disaster, massive fish kills, and the destruction of wild fish populations. Hundreds of millions of dollars are going to be needed to establish a hatchery population.

The removal process is anticipated to disrupt fish migration patterns, further impacting fish populations. It is important for all stakeholders to work together to mitigate any potential negative impacts and ensure the long-term health of the Klamath River ecosystem.”

~ Gene Sousa – Klamath Irrigation District

Video taken 02/06/2024 on the banks of Iron Gate lake, Hornbook, CA 🎥 footge by William E. Simpson II | By Yreka News | Facebook

Environmentalists and the State of California are celebrating the world’s largest dam removal on the Upper Klamath River, while their work kills… | By Rep. Doug LaMalfa | Facebook

Environmentalists and the State of California are celebrating the world’s largest dam removal on the Upper Klamath River, while their work kills…

Uploaded by Cliff Bentz on 2024-02-06.

Rep Bentz Speaks on the House Floor Against the Removal of the Klamath Dams

The Department of Interior is misleading the public and purging scientists who don’t go along with an increasingly radical green agenda. Eight government scientists were recently fired or reassigned after voicing concerns to their superiors about faulty environmental science used for policy decisions. Which begs the question, “Are some government agencies manipulating science to advance political agendas?”

Will The Klamath River Ecosystem Survive Dam Removal? – Siskiyou News

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.

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

Newly uncovered information and recent statements by a KRRC board member paints a new picture of double-talk and misinformation

A Losing Trade – Quality of Human Life + Millions of Animals Dead For What? The Possibility of a Better Salmon Run? – Siskiyou News

Cover photo courtesy: William E. Simpson II For over 100-years after the first dam was installed (Copco 1 Dam) and over 60-years after Iron Gate Dam was installed, there was nevertheless a decent run of Salmon and steelhead in the Klamath River, even with all of the changing ocean conditions, […]

Paul R. Houser: Dam removal holds risks, uncertainties
Staff Reports
Sunday, June 24, 2012
After I questioned the accuracy of science reporting and summary documents related to the Klamath Secretarial Decision, I faced systematic reprisal and my job as the Bureau of Reclamation’s science advisor was terminated. Subsequently, I filed a scientific integrity allegation, and was invited to speak publicly about it in May. I was confronted with a very wide range of questions, where I carefully offered my opinion or relevant information. Dennis Lynch of the U.S. Geological Survey recently questioned some of this information (“Klamath science process is solid,” June 11). Below I summarize the rationale for my comments,
and offer some additional perspective. (Full text available at

1) Lynch states that “our team summarized these findings in an Overview Report that received a second layer peer review from six independent experts.” He fails to mention the peer review comment 3-5: “The Summary and Findings section does not sufficiently express the uncertainties in the responses to restoration options,” which is generally consistent with my allegation. These concerns should be addressed by writing a new summary that accurately portrays the dam removal uncertainties and risks, and the additional actions that will be needed to meet the environmental and societal goals.

2) Lynch disagrees with my comment that a more in-depth engineering analysis is needed to assure that Iron Gate Dam is removed safely. My comment was based on an EIS/EIR comment submitted by Stephen Koshy, who warned that notching the earth-filled Iron Gate Dam may cause it to fail. This concern can be addressed by providing a public response to Koshy along with the relevant engineering analyses.

3) Lynch disagrees with my comment that the sediment coming out of the dams would be the equivalent volume of one to three feet covering 190 miles of a 150-foot-wide channel. The sediment volume studies have discrepancies, but my volume equivalency calculations are correct. Further, the draft EIS/EIR states: “Short-term (2–yr) aggradation of sediment from the dams could be substantial below Iron Gate Dam downstream to Willow Creek, with up to 5 feet of deposition within 0.5 miles downstream of the dam, to 1.5 feet of deposition near Willow Creek.” Downstream impacts of sediment are a significant concern, so alternate options such as dredging may also need to be more seriously considered.

4) Lynch disagrees with my concerns that the released sediments may be harmful to fish, and may have a significant impact for 1-2 years. The draft EIS/EIR states, “[T]he short-term (<2 years following dam removal) increases in SSCs [suspended sediment] in the lower Klamath River and the Klamath Estuary would be a significant impact.” Water quality and reservoir sedimentation in the Klamath Basin are very complex issues. While a 2011 Department of Interior report did show that the reservoir sediments have toxic elements below most guidelines, the upper basin is well known to have water and sediment quality issues, and these sediments are being deposited in the reservoirs. A 2006 PacifiCorp study concludes that the absence of the project reservoirs would exacerbate water quality impairment by reducing dissolved oxygen and promoting growth of algae. Water quality issues above the PacifiCorp dams may be among the most significant risks to successful river restoration; these water quality issues should be mitigated prior to dam removal.

5) Finally, Lynch objects to my statement that nonnative coho salmon were introduced in the Klamath starting in 1895. A 2002 California Department of Fish and Game report confirms my statement and further indicates that “historically, the practice of importing non-native fish was common.” The draft EIS/EIR also states that “the vast majority of coho salmon that spawn in the Klamath Basin are believed to be of hatchery origin, although the percentage varies among years.” Based on the century-long history of nonnative salmon transfers and hatchery origin fish, it would be tough to identify a truly native wild Klamath coho. Nonetheless, it is the law to protect them.

The outcomes of dam removal on this scale and in this unique environment have significant risks and uncertainties. A positive outcome is not guaranteed and a tragic outcome is possible. There are several innovative and economical solutions to meet the Klamath Basin goals that are not being actively considered because they fall outside the politics of the Klamath agreements. It is in the public trust, and a duty of scientific integrity to seriously consider these alternatives. My goal is to make sure that decision makers are aware of these risks and uncertainties, and account for them in their decision-making process. By only reporting the positive aspects of dam removal without the uncertainties and additional needed mitigation, the meaning of the science is perturbed, which may lead to poor decisions.

Dr. Paul R. Houser is a hydrologist and former scientific adviser to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

A Republican’s quixotic quest against dam removal

Dam removal has broadening bipartisan appeal, but Rep. Doug LaMalfa is digging in.

Klamath Dam Removal: Loss of Copco Lake Leaves Some Residents Reeling | Daily Tidings

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – The dam removal projects- aimed at sustaining the salmon population, are underway, with the latest drawdown being three reservoirs on the Klamath River. The removal process has already dramatically changed the landscape in Southern Oregon and far Northern California, along the course of the river.
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Explore the Historical Perspectives at the Klamath Basin Crisis Website


  1. John Eastwood

    I was not happy at the destruction caused by the dam removal on the Kalamath. And was not suprised at how California and Oregon experts screwed it up so badly. I live a couple miles from the Elwah River in Washington. The lefties here starring Patty Murray along with the tribes did the same thing beginning in 2011. Lies and more lies resulted in two dams taken out. Two pristine lakes gone. Flood damage in the (at least) hundreds of millions. A major 101 highway bridge gone. Patch after patch to our roads highways and fresh water systems. Permanent damage to the road entering Olympic Park. For what? No more fish except for a couple stragglers. THEY will lie their butts off about fish counts. But 12 years later and the river that we fished for sixty years is STILL CLOSED to sportsfishermen. This is a river of lies and cornball eco politics. Beware everyone they are after the dams on the Snake. How stupid is that?

    • Avatar photo Jay A. Martin

      Thank you sir! it is tough to cut through the malarky, I to have had many tell of same concerns and also lived in the area. First Hand…

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