Newswise — The U.S. has approved the largest dam removal in history. The dams are along the Oregon-California border.

University of Oregon professor Alaí Reyes-Santos can speak on ecosystem transformations and Karuk and Klamath traditional ecological practices relevant to the river.

ABOUT Alaí Reyes-Santos
Alaí Reyes-Santos is the associate director of the PNW Just Futures Institute for Climate and Racial Justice and founding member of the Oregon Water Futures Collaborative. Since 2020, she has done extensive community engagement work with tribal members, low income, rural, and BIPOC communities on water; environmental justice researcher and community engagement experience, with an emphasis on water resources. 

Quote about Dam Removal

“The removal of these dams is just the beginning in the necessary steps that must be taken to restore the health of the river, including plant, fish, and bird life, as well as of surrounding communities. No one benefits from warmer waters, for instance, produced by dams that lead to harmful bacteria and other toxic elements that pose a threat to humans and all life in the watershed; as well as by the obstacles posed to fish species that used to travel across and flourish in the basin.

Now opportunities for economic and recreational practices that will better sustain water and community health can be pursued through community engagement and green economic investments. Tribes, low-income communities, and immigrant communities must be engaged as such processes unfold to avoid the pitfalls of previous economic plans for the region that left many without access to traditional food sources, relevant ceremonial and community sites, and clean water.

The tribal communities that have stewarded the region since time immemorial must be at the center of any initiative as people holding the knowledge of multiple generations who have cared for those waters.”