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Letter from KRRC/Klamath dam destruction group, to local property owners near the dams:  Background and schedule of demolition
Dear Property Owner or Local Resident,  (near the Klamath hydroelectric dams)
Berkeley. CA 94704 Cllck2Milll
22202
December 15, 2023 forward from Rex Cozzalio
KLAMATH RIVER RENEWAL CORPORATION  / KRRC
On behalf of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (Renewal Corporation), I am writing to inform you that drawdown of Iron Gate Reservoir will begin as early as January 11, 2024 and drawdown of Copco Reservoir and J.C. Boyle Reservoir will begin in mid-January 2024. As landowner, the Renewal Corporation writes to provide public notice that boating on the reservoirs will not be permitted during drawdown. After reservoir drawdown,driving or other access to the exposed lands will not be permitted.
Background
On November 17, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a License Surrender Order for the Lower Klamath Project. FERC authorized deconstruction of J.C. Boyle Dam, Copco No. 1and 2 Dams, Iron Gate Dam, and the powerhouses and related facilities. FERC also authorized habitat restoration within the reservoir footprints and other locations. On December 1, 2022, the Renewal Corporation accepted license transfer for the Lower Klamath Project, along with the States of California and Oregon, and is now the licensee as well as the owner of the lands under the reservoirs.
In fall 2023, the Renewal Corporation completed the removal of Copco No. 2 Dam. This dam was the first to be removed due to its small size, location, and lack of reservoir.
Reservoir Drawdown
As required in FERC's License Surrender Order, the Renewal Corporation will begin drawdown of Iron Gate Reservoir on January 11, 2024, with drawdown of the J.C. Boyle and Copco Reservoirs to follow later in the month of January. The reservoirs are anticipated to drain within a month of initiating drawdown, with water returning to the historic
river channel. The reservoirs may then refill this spring during snow melt, and will be drawn back down again ahead of deconstruction, which will begin in late-spring or early-summer of 2024. After each reservoir drawdown period, the lands previously under the reservoir will be muddy and unsafe for public access.
Once drawdown is complete, the deconstruction and removal of Copco No.1, Iron Gate, and J.C. Boyle dams will begin. All three dams are expected to be completely removed by November 2024. As required by FERC's order, the Renewal Corporation will restore the newly exposed lands by planting native vegetation, controlling erosion, and other measures. The Renewal Corporation's revegetation plan includes seeding reservoir footprints with native plant seed and planting trees and shrubs in select areas, with species tailored to the location within the reservoir and proximity to streams and expected wetlands. In the vicinity of the homes around Copco Lake, the exposed reservoir sediments will be seeded with native seed, planted with bare-root seedlings, and the riparian areas immediately adjacent to the river and creek channels will receive an increased density of trees where appropriate to provide sediment cover and habitat restoration. The restoration work will begin during the drawdown period and continue for several years.
Measures to Protect Public Safety
During reservoir drawdown and deconstruction activities, the site will be an active construction zone. Local residents can expect loud noises and increased construction machinery on the road and in the project area. To ensure public safety during reservoir drawdown, the Renewal Corporation will not allow boating on J.C. Boyle, Copco, or Iron Gate Reservoirs starting January 1, 2024. After reservoir drawdown, the Renewal Corporation will not allow public access
to the newly exposed lands (including walking, driving, or any other means) in 2024 when the restoration process is underway, unless you are participating in an official tour of the area. Trespassing and disruption to the restoration area will slow the process and potentially impact the revegetation success. The Renewal Corporation is coordinating with the Siskiyou County and Klamath County Sheriff's Offices with respect to this plan. We will immediately report trespassing to them for the sake of public safety.
Please note that the drawdown plan has been specifically designed to minimize the risks of slope failure around the reservoir rim and so we expect minimal, if any, impact to surrounding properties. However,should the Renewal Corporation's technical experts notice any concern during the reservoir drawdown periods, property owners and residents would be notified immediately and would have access to the independently administered Klamath Mitigation Fund for compensation. For more information on this process, please visit the Klamath Mitigation Fund website at klamathmitigation.org.
The Renewal Corporation is committed to ensuring public safety and providing updated information to residents during the reservoir drawdown and dam removal processes. Local public notices will be posted on the Renewal Corporation website throughout the project at klamathrenewal.org/local-public-notices. Please also feel free to reach out to me directly with questions at (S30) 670-0016 or ren@klamathrenewal.org.
Sincerely,
Ren Brownell
Public Information Officer
Klamath River Renewal Corporation
If you need a copy of this notice in Spanish or Hmong, please contact us directly with your name and property address and we will provide a translation: info@klamathrenewal.org

 

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