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Klamath Dams and Doghole Ports - A Twofer
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A Saturday twofer. Two interesting pieces, if you're interested. 🙂

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history hits major milestone

Historic Klamath dam removal project underway in Northern California

By Ashley Harrell Updated Nov 20, 2023 11:02 a.m.

Work crews completed the deconstruction of Copco No. 2 — a hydroelectric dam on the Klamath River near the Oregon-California border — in early November, according to a press release from Klamath River Renewal Corp., the nonprofit organization removing the dams. It’s a major milestone in the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, and the three remaining dams are slated to come down next year.  

The effort to remove the dams has spanned more than 20 years, with hundreds of tribal members and other river advocates dedicating their careers to the river and its salmon populations.

“It’s been two decades of so many ups and downs,” Yurok Tribal Fisheries Department Director Barry McCovey Jr. told SFGATE. “The people involved have just really been persistent.”

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history hits major milestone

Doghole Ports

Fort Ross doghole port, late 19th century. Credit: Fort Ross Conservancy

The story of the human interaction with the environment during the heyday of the lumber industry in Sonoma and Mendocino County, California can be viewed through the archaeological resources present today. The Redwood Coast landscape is dotted with evidence how the lumber trade adapted to the rugged marine environment allowing the business to flourish from the mid-19th century into the 20th century. The rugged coast had few roads and no long distance railroads, so the most cost effective way to move the lumber was by sea. Lumbering operations established sawmills along the shoreline at the few places where it was possible to temporarily anchor a vessel. These “doghole ports,” so named because they were so small and exposed that mariners joked they were barely large enough for a dog to turn around, became centers of economic activity. Enterprising lumbermen rigged a network of chutes and cables extending from the bluffs down into small coves allowing lumber to be transferred from shore to waiting ship. A fleet of small, maneuverable schooners, steam schooners and eventually steamers carried the timber to markets as close as San Francisco and as distant as the Eastern Seaboard, Australia and Asia. The trade left not only place names, but the archaeological remains of the infrastructure and in some cases those vessels unlucky enough to be lost on these shores. Lasting communities sprang up at some of these locations: Bodega Bay, Gualala, Point Arena, Mendocino and Caspar to name a few. Today, several doghole ports are part of the California State Parks (CSP) system and within NOAA's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS). This allows CSP and NOAA staff, historians, archaeologists the opportunity to explore and interpret our maritime past for current and future generations.

Doghole Ports


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