Connect with us

U.S. News

Klamath River Dam Removal Sparks Salmon Mass-Death Controversy



Clear Facts

  • American Rivers, a well-funded environmentalist group, played a key role in the push to remove dams in the Pacific Northwest’s Klamath River, which led to the premature deaths of thousands of salmon.
  • The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) attributed the mass-death of salmon to gas bubble disease, caused by changes in water pressure due to old dam infrastructure.
  • Despite the mass-death of salmon, American Rivers, which has received millions of dollars from left-of-center environmentalist grantmaking organizations, has not publicly addressed the issue.

American Rivers, a prominent environmentalist organization, has been identified as a major player in the push to remove dams in the Klamath River in the Pacific Northwest. This move has been linked to the premature deaths of thousands of salmon in the river.

According to a local report, American Rivers was the “orchestrator of the Klamath dams removal project.” The removal of these dams was followed by the deaths of “hundreds of thousands” of young salmon.

“The push to remove the dams is often marketed as beneficial for salmon, as proponents of the plan — including American Rivers — have argued that the dams obstruct the natural movements of salmon as well as their access to habitat.”

However, the CDFW reported that a large number of the 830,000 young salmon released into the river on Feb. 26 had died as of March 2. The CDFW attributed this mass-death to gas bubble disease, a condition caused by changes in water pressure.

The agency further stated that water turbidity and dissolved oxygen levels do not appear to have contributed to the mass-death. The young salmon that died travelled through a tunnel involved in the dam infrastructure that had previously not been accessible to the fish before officials altered the flow of water through the system as part of the removal process.

Peter Tira, an information officer for the CDFW, explained that the deaths were primarily a function of where the fish were released into the water. He stated that the outcome, though unfortunate, is a learning opportunity for stakeholders who remain committed to making the Klamath River a free-flowing cold water river system again in the long-term.

American Rivers is also closely involved with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), a nonprofit coalition that is playing a key role in the removals in accordance with its stated mission to “remove the Klamath hydroelectric dams and restore a free-flowing river.” Along with other organizations involved with the KRRC, American Rivers has appointed several officials to the group’s board of directors.

However, some officials and environmental policy experts are not buying the government’s explanation for the mass-death of salmon, asserting instead that it is clear that the removal of the dams set conditions for the mass-death.

“The risk of gas bubbles is well known, so the fact that one million salmon were killed is a failure of government staff to prevent their death. Rather than act as this is the fault of the dam, government staff should acknowledge their mistake and learn from it,” Todd Myers, the director of the Washington Policy Center’s Center for the Environment, stated. “It is unfortunately typical that when government actions harm the environment, agencies spend more time deflecting blame than addressing the problem or being held accountable.”


Republican California Rep. Doug LaMalfa, whose district includes the river and is a longtime opponent of removing the dams, agreed with Myers’ assessment of the causes for the deaths. He has been warning removal proponents “from day one” that moving to hastily remove the dams without a comprehensive plan to handle second-order effects could be catastrophic.

“This is about political scores. People like me and others have been warning them for two decades that when you do this and you have no plan for the silt — and they don’t have one — they have been exposed that they have no plan. They’re just doing it, doing it on the fly,” LaMalfa stated.

Despite the mass-death of salmon, American Rivers has not publicly addressed the issue, despite having advocated for the removal of the Klamath River dams for years. The organization did not respond to requests for comment.

“I’ve been around natural disasters all of my life, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Siskiyou County Supervisor Ray Haupt stated. “The river is essentially dead, as is everything in it.”

American Rivers has received at least $3.6 million from left-of-center grantmaking and environmentalist organizations — including the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Resources Legacy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Water Foundation — since 2020, according to a review of tax filings. The New Venture Fund, one of the grantmaking nonprofits overseen by Arabella Advisors, gave American Rivers nearly $400,000 between 2020 and 2022, according to tax filings.

There are still several other dams on the river that are set to come down as part of the removal project. Many property owners are seeing the values of their property along the water drop because of changes driven by the dam removal, LaMalfa stated.

“People with homes in the area are seeing their home values drop, even in one case their actual house might drop into the canyon because the water table has shifted,” LaMalfa stated. “And people with loans on their homes no longer have the value to keep their equity up.”

KRRC has established a mitigation fund to pay locals who may be adversely impacted by the consequences of dam removal.


“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) manages the Fall Creek Fish Hatchery,” which is the facility that released the ill-fated salmon into the waterway, a KRRC spokesperson stated. “The Department determined the mortality of salmon fry was caused by remaining dam infrastructure, not by dam removal. Fortunately, that infrastructure will be removed along with the rest of the dam this year. In the meantime, CDFW will be trucking fish around the dam to avoid this occurring with upcoming releases from the hatchery. “

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. bill knight

    March 27, 2024 at 8:00 am

    These are the same people killing endangered birds and water life with wind farms and solar arrays! It’s OK to destroy if your intentions are green?

  2. Brandy

    March 27, 2024 at 8:16 am

    California has no business in Oregon’s fishing industry or rivers! This is more than likely Pedo bidens doing! California needs to keep their asses out of our state!! I love fishing and this really pisses me off that they killed so many of our salmon!! Stay the hell out of Oregon, we can take care of our own properties. Take care of your garbage state instead!!!

  3. ernaldo

    March 27, 2024 at 9:55 am

    Weird, emotional leftist fools are wrong again?

  4. LMB

    March 27, 2024 at 1:23 pm

    You can add this to the long list that’s still forming among the Environmentalist’s screw-ups!!! Oh, it’s for the benefit of the environment, yeah right!!!

  5. Earnest T Bass

    March 27, 2024 at 2:23 pm


  6. inyoface

    March 27, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    Maybe these “environmentalists” should get “lead poisoning”.

  7. stuman

    March 27, 2024 at 3:56 pm

    release the salmon below the dam.

    • CharlieSeattle

      April 12, 2024 at 10:52 pm

      Common sence displayed like that will preclude you from a leftist NGO position.

  8. J

    March 27, 2024 at 3:59 pm

    That sounds good, Let me know if they do get lead poisoning. Shame on those who want to take the dams down. The fish, and other animals are used to what is there now. I hope that people sue these groups so they have to pay and disappear.

  9. Centurion

    March 27, 2024 at 9:50 pm

    Where are the law suits? How about suing all these groups for several trillion on the grounds of deliberately damaging the environment.

  10. ironhorseman

    March 27, 2024 at 10:11 pm

    If its not broke…leave it alone…environmental knowledge does know what nature needs to thrive…leave nature alone.

  11. William

    March 28, 2024 at 1:01 am

    Typical “government related organization” response to a problem “they” caused. “Oh, we did nothing wrong….It’s the results of the people who built the dams. They should have foreseen this was going to happen, when it came time to remove the dams!”
    Like “J” said….”the animals and fish are used to what has been there”….But hey, we humans know what is best for this (I don’t know 3rd, 4th, 5th, or more) generation of deer, salmon, etc., don’t we !?!? And don’t worry about the “minor amount of energy that these little dams put out, we can just add another “brown out” to the projected list of “things to come”.

  12. Dave

    March 28, 2024 at 8:38 am

    The best way to fight this is to use the takings clause in the Constitution. If the government takes away your property value, they must compensate you for it. A class action law suit should be coming, both against the groups that promoted it, as it was fraudulent, as well as to the government for taking property value without compensation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *