J.C. Boyle Dam breach

Water pours through a 10-by-10-foot hole at the John C. Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in January after a controlled explosion.

In 2002, one of the year’s biggest national headlines was the death of 68,000 Klamath River salmon. Federal agencies faced a dilemma: When there is not enough water for both fish and farmers, who gets the water? Agencies chose farmers.

The fish kill was devastating to Tribes up and down the Klamath River. Commercial and recreational fishing businesses went bankrupt. Even the farmers who received water that year barely got by. It was clear the basin could not continue as is, with water overpromised in too many places.

Our journalism needs your support. Please become a subscriber today at The Bulletin, www.bendbulletin.com/subscribe-now.

Lee Rahr is the vice president of Sustainable Northwest, a nonprofit conservation organization.

Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter

(1) comment

Gard Communications

I am so excited to see the Klamath River coming back to life already. There are plants in the ground, seedlings are sprouting, and the water is clean again. What a monumental achievement to undo the harms of the past and restore this free-flowing river for salmon, salmon people, and the entire ecosystem.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.