Opinion, Siskiyou

OPINION: deep concern and outrage regarding the recent events surrounding the draining of Copco Lake

cover photo credit: Klamath River Renewal Corporation FB Page

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my deep concern and outrage regarding the recent events surrounding the draining of Copco Lake. As a former resident and someone who cherished Copco Lake as a second home, I am appalled by the devastating consequences of the dam removal project initiated by the KRRC (Klamath River Renewal Corporation).

My family’s connection to Copco Lake spans decades, with my father serving Siskiyou County as a California Department of Forestry firefighter for over thirty years. We enjoyed countless memories and experiences on the lake, from fishing and rafting to interacting with other families who shared our love for the outdoors. Copco Lake was not just a body of water; it was the heart of our community and a cherished part of our lives.

The decision to drain Copco Lake and remove the dams has had catastrophic effects on the environment and the residents who called this area home. The loss of property values, the failure of water wells, and the significant decline in wildlife populations are just a few devastating consequences. As highlighted in the report by William Simpson II, the toxic sediments released into the Klamath River pose a serious threat to the entire ecosystem, with levels of pollutants such as Mercury, Arsenic, and Chromium exceeding EPA permissible limits by alarming margins.

Furthermore, the lack of proper consideration for existing wildlife and the psychological and financial toll on longtime residents is unacceptable. Families like mine invested their lives and resources into Copco Lake, only to see their properties devalued and their way of life destroyed overnight. The disregard for the well-being of both human and animal inhabitants is a grave injustice that cannot be ignored.

Local, state, and federal elected officials must launch a thorough investigation into this matter to ensure accountability and prevent similar disasters from occurring in other communities. Reparations must be made to those who have suffered immense financial and emotional losses due to the negligence of the KRRC and federal agencies involved in this project.

As someone who no longer resides at Copco Lake, I am deeply saddened by the irreversible damage inflicted upon this once-vibrant community. The memories of Copco Lake will forever hold a special place in my heart. Still, the devastation caused by this man-made disaster has robbed future generations of the opportunity to experience its beauty and tranquility.


Jon Quinday

Former resident: Montague, CA 96064
Currently: Russell, KS 67665

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