Dam removal hinges on FERC’s approval of a license transfer from current owner PacifiCorp to the KRRC, as well as other regulatory permits.

Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced last week the selection of Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC to perform restoration work after the proposed removal of four Klamath dams, and on Monday, KRRC announced it had filed with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the answers to a plethora of questions brought forward by a Board of Consultants in December 2018.

Dam removal hinges on FERC’s approval of a license transfer from current owner PacifiCorp to the KRRC, as well as other regulatory permits.

In preparation for what KRRC believes is impending approval to move forward with the massive project, in April the organization announced they hired Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. for the project. RES was tapped last week to act as the restoration subcontractor after Kiewit performs the actual removal.

KRRC first submitted license transfer and surrender applications to FERC in 2016.

KRRC said it has spent the past seven months “refining and strengthening aspects of the Definite Plan to reflect the BOC input.”

“The result is a compelling, comprehensive approach and proof of KRRC’s capacity for FERC to consider as it deliberates on license transfer and surrender,” the organization said in a press release.

Specifically, in the new filing, KRRC said it demonstrates that its committed funds “are sufficient to complete dam removal as proposed in the license surrender application,” the release states.

The updated cost estimate reflects refinements to prior cost-estimate work completed by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, simulation of tens of thousands of scenarios that could affect costs, and incorporation of expert BOC input, said KRRC.

The new cost estimate for the full dam removal project is $434 million, “well within KRRC’s $450 million budget.”

Detractors of dam removal believe KRRC will blow through the allotted $450 million before restoration is complete. Of the $450 million, $200 million comes from PacifiCorp ratepayers in Oregon and California, and up to $250 million comes from California Proposition 1, a massive $7.5 billion statewide water bond that passed in 2014.

The new cost estimate is referred to as a “P80” estimate, an industry standard for cost estimating that assumes 80 percent of a project’s identified risks will occur over the life of the project.

“The $434 million figure also includes significant contingency funding to provide a substantial buffer for any additional project costs,” KRRC stated. “In addition, KRRC has developed the most comprehensive risk management program ever considered by FERC for purposes of dam removal. The risk package includes insurance, performance bond, and indemnity coverages to offset potential short- and long-term project effects.”

KRRC said it has tapped the technical consultant AECOM for assistance with the project, as well as RES for the environmental restoration

“We could not ask for a better partner than RES to undertake the vital environmental restoration that is a key part of this landmark project,” said Mark Bransom, KRRC’s Chief Executive Officer. “They have the proven experience and expertise needed to ensure success.”

According to the release, RES is a nationally recognized leader in environmental restoration and water quality improvement projects. Recently, RES has undertaken a significant permittee-responsible mitigation project restoring approximately 17,000 acres into a functioning native ecosystem for the North Texas Municipal Water District.

RES has been in business for 10 years and has worked in 20 states, improving more than 300 miles of streams and restoring more than 50,000 acres, KRRC said, planting more than 15 million trees.

KRRC is confident that FERC will grant the license transfers and said it “anticipates beginning drawdown and removal as early as 2022.”