Saturday, December 19, 2009

Environmental Groups Want New Direction on Klamath


A coalition of environmental groups are pushing for a new direction on the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement recently announced for the Klamath Basin. Earlier this fall stakeholders in the Klamath Basin as well as PacifiCorp and the States involved reached a settlement that would likely lead to removal of Klamath Dams sometime in the next 10-20 years. The Oregon and California have both started the process of raising the money necessary for dam removal however the current plan is no guarantee of dam removal as the Secretary of the Interior will be charged with deciding whether dam removal advances the public interest. After recent developments with the 2008 BiOp and the Obama administrations unwillingness to consider removing the four lower Snake dams, many are skeptical that dam removal would ever happen on the Klamath.

Environmental groups are unhappy with many of the concessions in the settlement and believe that a new plan needs to be negotiated separately from a basin wide water settlement. Conflicts between irrigators and fish advocates (tribes and fishermen) over the allocation of water in the Klamath Basin have focused on maintaining adequate in stream flow for salmon during the warmest months of summer. When too much water is diverted during these critical warm periods massive fish kills have occurred in the lower Klamath as they did in 2002.

More information in the Oregonian:
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/12/coalition_forms_to_fight_klama.html

and the Northcoast Environmental Center:
http://yournec.org/index.php?module=pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=3&pid=761

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