After years of careful planning, crews are now laying the groundwork to raze J.C. Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2 and Iron Gate dams on the Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California, unlocking 400 miles of upstream spawning habitat for anadromous salmon.

Once the reservoirs behind those dams disappear, they will expose roughly 2,200 acres of previously submerged land and built-up sediment that must be replanted with native vegetation for birds and other wildlife, and to stabilize the riverbank.

That is where farms like BFI Native Seeds play a crucial role.

The company, headquartered in Moses Lake, Wash., looks like any other commercial agricultural enterprise in the heart of the Columbia Basin. But rather than growing crops for food, it specializes in raising native plants for restoring ecologically sensitive areas.

Matthew Benson, president of BFI, said this year the farm will produce around 250 species of plants for sites throughout the West — including the Klamath River, post-dam removal.

“The amount of ground that’s going to be restored is huge, and it’s going to have a huge effect on the environment,” he said. “We’re glad to do our part to make it the best it can be.”

Source: GOING NATURAL: Farms grow native plants for Klamath River dam removal