Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC)?
The KRRC is a 501(c)(3) organization created by the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) as amended in 2016 to decommission four dams on the Klamath River. These dams have a combined capacity of 163 megawatts, but are not operated to provide irrigation water or storage for farmers. If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approves the dam decommissioning proposal, the KRRC will take over the dam licenses, arrange for continued operations until the dams are decommissioned, oversee removal of hydroelectric infrastructure, and undertake risk management responsibility for the project. See About Us for more information.
Who created the KRRC?
Parties to the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) called for the creation of the KRRC. The KHSA provides the roadmap for Klamath River restoration, which begins with the decommissioning and removal of four hydroelectric dams on a 373-mile reach of the Klamath River. Under the amended KHSA, the KRRC will take title to the dams and undertake the actual project design and removal activities. The Governors of California and Oregon, the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, and conservation and fishing groups that signed the amended Agreement appointed the KRRC’s Board of Directors.
What is the KRRC's governance structure?
The KRRC’s Board of Directors is composed of up to the following 15 members:
- Five members appointed by the Governor of California
- Four members appointed by the Governor of Oregon
- One member appointed from each Tribe that has signed the agreement (Karuk Tribe and Yurok Tribe)
- Two members appointed collectively by conservation groups (American Rivers, California Trout, Klamath Riverkeeper, Northern California Council – Federation of Fly Fishers, Salmon River Restoration Council, Sustainable Northwest, and Trout Unlimited)
- One member appointed by both the Institute for Fisheries Resources and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.
The Board has hired a Technical Representative as well as legal and technical consultants. The Board has also retained contract staff to provide program management, initial staffing, and organizational assistance. An Executive Director was hired in June 2017.
Why is PacifiCorp supporting dam decommissioning?
PacifiCorp supports decommissioning of the four dams under the KHSA because it is in the best interest of its customers. PacifiCorp and the diverse parties to the KHSA believe this the best way to address the expiration of PacifiCorp’s Klamath dam license. Additionally, in 2010 both the Oregon and California Public Utility Commissions found dam decommissioning under the KHSA was in the best interest of PacifiCorp’s customers.
Dam decommissioning will produce multiple economic and environmental benefits. First, dam decommissioning via settlement limits cost and risk for PacifiCorp’s customers compared to relicensing. Further, salmon production is expected to increase about 80%, which will significantly grow the commercial and recreational fishing industry and enhance tribal self-sufficiency. Dam removal will also mitigate the toxic blue-green algae blooms that currently thrive in the dams’ reservoirs and impact human health and recreation opportunities.
What is the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA)?
The KHSA was amended in April 2016 and requires PacifiCorp and the KRRC to seek approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to transfer ownership to KRRC and decommission four dams on the Klamath River. If approved, the KHSA will lead to one of the largest river restoration efforts in the nation, beginning with decommissioning of four dams in 2020. This agreement was signed by federal, state, and local governments, dam owner PacifiCorp, two Tribal nations, and nine conservation and fishing groups.
Who are the signatories of the KHSA?
The amended 2016 Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) was signed on April 6, 2016 by dam owner and operator PacifiCorp, Humboldt County, the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, the states of California and Oregon, the United States Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce, NOAA Fisheries, American Rivers, California Trout, Northern California Council – Federation of Fly Fishers, Salmon River Restoration Council, Sustainable Northwest, Trout Unlimited, Institute for Fisheries Resources, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Klamath River Renewal Corporation, and Upper Klamath Water Users Association.
When will the process begin?
If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), KRRC anticipates beginning site preparation in mid-2020, with dam removal and restoration activities commencing in 2021 and extending into 2022 or 2023. The KRRC is actively taking steps toward that end. The KRRC met a major milestone on September 23, 2016 when the KRRC and PacifiCorp jointly filed the License Transfer Application and the KRRC filed the License Surrender Application with FERC and related documents with state agencies. This timeline is dependent on regulatory approvals and is subject to change.
Who will operate the dams until they are decommissioned?
PacifiCorp currently owns and operates the dams. After FERC approves the license transfer from PacifiCorp to the KRRC, the KRRC will enter into an agreement with PacifiCorp to continue operating and maintaining the dams until they are decommissioned. PacifiCorp will pay all costs associated with the operations and assume all liabilities associated with those operations.
Why is a new organization overseeing this process?
PacifiCorp and the other KHSA parties determined that creating a third party to manage dam decommissioning and river restoration was an effective model for protecting customers and ensuring river restoration.
Where does the KRRC’s funding come from?
The amended KHSA established two sources of funding for a total of $450 million available for decommissioning and removing the hydroelectric facilities and restoring the Klamath River. Funding has been allocated from the two sources:
- Customer Contributions – $200 million is being collected by California and Oregon Public Utility Commissions through PacifiCorp customers in Oregon and California and as authorized by the Oregon Legislature. However, this represents significant savings compared to PacifiCorp’s estimate of $400 million to update and relicense the dams.
- California Bond Funding – California voters approved Proposition 1 in 2014 for water project statewide; in 2015, the California legislature allocated $250 million of the Proposition 1 bond money to fund the difference between the Customer Contribution and the actual cost to complete the Facilities Removal.
The Bureau of Reclamation developed a cost estimate of approximately $292 million for dam removal. This estimate was derived through a rigorous analytical process and an independent peer review process.