A Houston-based subcontractor has been selected to help with restoration design and planning on the Klamath Dam Removal Project.
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRS) and lead contractor Kiewit announced that Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES) has been hired to fill that role.
While RES will not be working on the dam removal itself, they will consult on and ultimately execute the restoration efforts necessary following completion the four dams’ removal.
Michael Hare, the company’s director of government affairs, business development, and corporate communications, estimated that the company has restored 70,000 to 80,000 acres of wetlands and close to 400 miles of streams, and conserved 10,000 acres of critical species habitat.
“When you are doing something like this, whether it is dam removal — building a reservoir, building a road or whatever it may be —the impact of the activity associated with that project sometimes may require compensatory mitigation of critical wetlands or critical streams that are actually being degraded during that construction activity,” Hare said.
“That is the offset that we provide. It is maintaining what we call, ‘No net loss of critical habitat.’”
Hare said RES has extensive experience in restoration projects resulting from a large range of activities. One such project involved restoring about 17,000 acres into functioning native ecosystem for the North Texas Municipal Water District, which Hare said was the largest such project in the country in the last 30 years.
“It is not the fact that this is a dam, it’s the fact that it is a large-scale, very big project requiring a complex system of restoration and permit compliance,” Hare said. “That is our specialty…
“Our role in this is to help them ensure that they are avoiding and minimizing their impacts as much as possible, so that when it comes down to us doing our work, we are really only at those unavoidable impacts that are going to be necessary to facilitate the construction of the removal of the dams themselves.”
KRRC said in the press release that it was RES’s extensive experience in a variety of restoration efforts that makes them the right fit for the project. Said KRRC Chief Executive Officer Mark Branson, “They have the proven experience and expertise needed to ensure success.”
For the Klamath Dam Removal Project specifically, most of the work is likely to take place within the areas where the dams have widened the natural banks of the Klamath River, such as the John C. Boyle Reservoir, Copco Lake, and the Iron Gate Reservoir.
“KRRC’s definitive restoration plan describes where there are lakes today, or large bodies of water,” Hare said. “When the dams are removed, that will return to a river and will no longer be a lake.
“In doing so, in those areas you are going to have a lot of bare land with no trees and no stabilization around it. So part of our restoration work is actually to effect that plan and put that into place,” he said, “revegetating that entire area and making sure that it is re-naturalized and stabilized.
“The river is going to go down pretty quickly, but it will take time for nature to come back. So to help accelerate that, we will help plan it correctly.”