• Migrating Infrastructures of the Klamath River: Past, Present, and Speculative Futures
    Brett Milligan

Lost River Diversion Channel, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Project.

The design and management of water infrastructure is changing in the Western region of the United States. The removal of large-scale dams has been proposed, debated, and sometimes implemented in efforts to recover degraded rivers and watersheds. Yet in other instances, this aging infrastructure is being retrofitted and made ever more complex in design to achieve the same goals. These shifts from single-function infrastructures to assemblies that deliberately engage with dynamic landscape processes are latent with political implications and regenerative possibilities. The contested and hydro-modified landscapes of Oregon and California's Klamath River, where both de-engineering and retrofit design strategies are in process, provide a timely location in which to research these transformations. Through historic documentation, extensive field work, data mapping, and testing of design scenarios, an integrative analysis and visualization of what the Klamath River used to be, the constructed nature of what it is now, and the design possibilities for its future reclamation was investigated.

Brett Milligan is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California, Davis, where he teaches design studios, landscape representation, and a seminar on ecologies of infrastructure. He is the creative director and author of Free Association Design and a founding member of The Dredge Research Collaborative. His writings have appeared in publications such as Bracket [Goes Soft], Making the Geologic Now (Punctum Books, 2013), MONU, the Journal of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Architecture Frontiers, and Landscape Architecture magazine. Milligan’s research operates in the fields of applied ecology, infrastructure studies, and the development of theoretical and material frameworks for encountering accelerated processes of landscape change.  This research finds design expression in the prototyping of responsive and regenerative forms of infrastructure.