For thousands of years, fishing has been the central livelihood of the Yurok people, California’s largest indigenous tribe. But after eight dams were built between 1900 and 1962 on the Klamath River, which runs through Yurok land, salmon populations dropped significantly, disrupting both the river ecosystem and the tribe's way of life. Known formally as the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project, the Klamath Dams straddle the California-Oregon border and are now facing removal. Native groups and conservationists have long advocated for eliminating the lower four Klamath dams, and negotiations with PacifiCorp (which operates these dams) have led to an agreement which may lend financial support to the massive undertaking of restoring the river. The dam removal would be the largest project of its kind in the United States. Join the Bill Lane Center, in partnership with Water in the West, for a program convening experts and local stakeholders to discuss the future of dams in the Klamath River basin.
CEO and President, Pacific Power
Stefan Bird is president and CEO of Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp serving 773,000 customers in 243 communities across Oregon, Washington and California. In his role Bird, oversees the optimization of PacifiCorp’s 16,500-mile transmission system spanning 10 states, its multi-state renewable resource and grid operations, commercial and risk management activities, as well as its Portland, Oregon-based corporate teams serving 1.9 million customers in Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power service areas. PacifiCorp is the largest regulated utility owner of wind resources in the West and operates the largest privately held grid in the West.
Under his leadership, the company is making historic investments in renewable energy and the transmission infrastructure needed to transform the West to a sustainable energy future. The investments emphasize a diversity of new renewable resources, storage and modern grid technology. Taken together, they put PacifiCorp on the path to deliver the cleaner, affordable and reliable energy the West needs to grow while dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Amy Cordalis is a fisherwoman, attorney, mother, and member of the Yurok Tribe. Amy is the Principal of the Ridges to Riffles Conservation Fund, a nonprofit representing Native American tribes in natural and cultural resource matters. She was general counsel of the Yurok Tribe and a staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund.
Third-generation Owner/Operator, Seus Farms
From a young age, Scott helped his dad, Monte, on the farm in any way that he could. Scott took time off of school on many occasions to help with harvest, completing his schoolwork at night after the fieldwork was done. Scott attended Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo from 1991-1997 studying Ag Business with concentrations in Crop Science and Farm & Ranch Management. This education served as a strong foundation for his return to the family farm in 1997. Scott and his wife Sarah took over the family farm as their own in 2006. Since then, they have worked hard in order to expand their mint and horseradish operations while carefully managing the farm. They have focused on increasing their farm's efficiency and the adaptation of technology, most notably through the use of drones and GPS. Today, Scott and Sara are proud to share the daily excitement of running the farm with their three children.
Professor of Law, General Faculty, University of Virginia School of Law
Associate Director, UVA Environmental Resilience Institute
Leon Szeptycki joined the UVA law faculty in 2019 after serving as a professor of the practice and executive director of Water in the West at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, where he oversaw an interdisciplinary research program focused on water management in the American West. Szeptycki is an expert in water law and policy and has worked extensively on large-scale watershed restoration projects. Szeptycki also serves as associate director of the University’s Environmental Resilience Institute.
Prior to joining the Woods Institute, Szeptycki served as the director of the Law School’s Environmental Law and Conservation Clinic, and as general counsel of Trout Unlimited, a national conservation organization. Early in his career, he also worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and practiced law at the Charlottesville office of McGuireWoods. In 2016, Szeptycki was appointed by California Gov. Jerry Brown to the board of the Klamath River Renewal Corp., a nonprofit corporation charged with removing four hydropower dams on the Klamath River.
Photo, upper right, of the Link River Dam at the head of the Klamath River and just west of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation via Flickr.