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Rice's Whale

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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
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Big win for orcas – the Klamath River dams are coming down

Two Southern Resident orcas swimming at the surface, the juvenile in a fully breach
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Even though Thanksgiving here in the U.S. isn’t until next week, we are thankful for some good news on the efforts to take down four dams on the Klamath River!

This is a vital step to restoring abundant salmon in the river and boosting the food available for endangered Southern Resident orcas

On November 17th, a new agreement for the Klamath River dams was announced by the Governors of Oregon and California, together with the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, and PacifiCorp – the private company that owns the dams.

The effort to take these dams down has been decades in the making and survived multiple challenges that threatened to upend the agreement. 

The most recent of those was an unexpected decision by a federal agency in the summer of 2020, which almost derailed the process once again.

Southern resident orca_CWR_Rob Lott

Your donation will go towards our work to help Southern Resident orcas.

When PacifiCorp brought stakeholders back to the table this fall, there was concern they would decline to uphold their commitment to remove the Klamath River dams. 

Removing the dams is vital to restoring the Klamath River watershed, honoring Tribal treaties, and supporting communities. The benefits of a healthy Klamath River extend all the way to the ocean and the salmon-dependent Southern Resident orcas who live there. Dam removal is projected to increase  Chinook salmon in the Klamath River Basin up to 80%, providing a lot more food for Southern Resident orcas in their ocean home.

We’re very thankful that PacifiCorp did the right thing and quickly identified another path forward for dam removal.  We’re thankful to the Governors of Oregon and California, who stepped up and committed their states as leaders in the effort.  We’re grateful to the Tribes who have been working on restoring their home for so long and who have been leaders throughout the process.  We’re thankful that the Southern Resident orcas will have more much-needed food in the ocean. 

And we’re very thankful to our supporters who have been helping us represent the Southern Resident orcas in this process.  By signing petitions, sending emails, and sharing stories & posts, you made a difference and helped push this over the finish line.

We will continue to follow this process closely and make sure it continues on track, and the needs of the Southern Resident orcas are considered.

Want to learn more about the history of the Klamath River dams and how the Southern Residents are connected?  Check out our Klamath Deep Dive.

What can you do in the meantime?

Say a quick “Thank You” to the agreement parties! A nice word can go a long way, especially for something as complicated and controversial as removing dams. Let them know they are doing the right thing and they have your support.

Here is one way to do it:

Tweet: A whale-sized thank you to @TheYurokTribe, Karuk Tribe, @OregonGovBrown, @CAGovernor, @PacifiCorp @WarrenBuffett for your leadership and partnership to #UnDamtheKlamath.  Klamath salmon, Southern Resident orcas, and PNW communities will all benefit from a free-flowing river.

We are encouraged by this awesome news! It is only with your support that we can make a difference in the lives of these amazing orcas!

Another way to help is by sharing this on social media!

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