Hydroelectric Management

PacifiCorp’s Klamath Hydroelectric Project (KHP) was constructed between 1911 and 1962.  The KHP includes eight developments:  the East and West Side power facilities, Keno, J.C. Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2, Fall Creek, and Iron Gate dams.  Link River Dam and Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) are not part of the KHP.  PacifiCorp operated the KHP under a 50-year license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) until the license expired in 2006.  PacifiCorp continues to operate the KHP under annual licenses based on the terms of the previous license.  Although Reclamation’s Link River Dam and PacifiCorp’s Keno Dam currently have fish ladders that will pass anadromous fish, none of PacifiCorp’s Four Facilities (i.e., Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2, and J.C Boyle dams and associated structures) were constructed with adequate fish ladders and, as a result, anadromous fish have been blocked from accessing the upper reaches of the basin for close to a century. 

In 2004, PacifiCorp filed an application with the FERC for a new 50-year license for the KHP (FERC 2007).  PacifiCorp’s application did not include provisions for volitional fish passage.  Under its Federal Power Act authorities, the NMFS and the USDOI issued modified mandatory prescriptions for fishways and recommended certain fishery protection, mitigation and enhancement measures in the FERC relicensing proceeding on January 26, 2007 (USDOI 2007, NMFS 2007).  The mandatory fishway prescriptions provide for volitional fish passage around the Four Facilities.  Therefore, FERC would be required to include in a new license for the KHP conditions requiring PacifiCorp to implement the fishway prescriptions to provide volitional fish passage around all of its Four Facilities. 

Beginning in 2005, negotiations by a diverse group of stakeholders, including federal agencies, the States of California and Oregon, Indian tribes, counties, agricultural organizations, and conservation and fishing groups led to the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and the associated Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).  Both the KHSA and KBRA were signed in February 2010 . 

The KHSA provides a process for the Secretary of the Interior to make a determination (Secretarial Determination) whether removal of the Four Facilities on the Klamath River (i.e., Iron Gate, Copco 1 and 2, and J.C. Boyle dams) will (1) advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath Basin, and (2) is in the public interest, which includes but is not limited to consideration of potential impacts on affected local communities and Tribes.  If the Secretarial Determination is affirmative, then removal of the Four Facilities is expected to proceed in 2020.

Actions under the KBRA include restoration, monitoring, and reintroduction under the fisheries programs, power programs, regulatory assurances, and county and tribal programs. For more information about the KHSA and KBRA, please visit http://klamathrestoration.gov/home