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Dam removals are underway in California.

By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice

Governor Gavin Newsom released California’s first strategy to restore the salmon population in January, calling for dams to be torn down in favor of improving passages for migratory salmon. The blueprint outlined several key actions including removing barriers to salmon migration, restoring and expanding habitats, and protecting water flows in critical times.

“We’re doubling down to make sure this species not only adapts in the face of extreme weather but remains a fixture of California’s natural beauty and ecosystems for generations to come,” Newsom said in a statement.

In its entirety, the California Salmon strategy includes six priorities and 71 actions. The Newsom Administration and legislature have spent $796.4 million in the last three years to restore the salmon populations.

Alexandra Biering, senior policy advocate at the California Farm Bureau, told Ag Alert that while most farmers would be glad to have a thriving salmon population, the state’s goals are not sustainable for their operations, and many of the outlined strategies require participation from water rights holders and private landowners.

Still, the state has begun deconstructing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River as well as two other Siskiyou dams — Iron Gate and Copco 1. Minimum flows have also been placed on the Scott and Shasta Rivers to protect the salmon population.

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