Thursday, March 3, 2011

Klamath Still Faces Uphill Battle

Over the last century the Klamath region of southern Oregon and northern California has been plauged by conflicts over water and fish management. In 2001, a drought year, more than 70,000 salmon and steelhead were killed when irrigation withdrawls and drought conditions combined to bring water temperatures in the lower river to lethal levels. Last year stakeholders including fishermen, irrigators, hydropower interests tribes and state governments came to a land mark agreement to remove the four Klamath dams. Despite the significant progress made in the Accords many believe the current agreement doesn't do enough to protect adequate instream flows for ESA listed coho, spring Chinook and steelhead. Now a coalition of groups have petitioned NMFS to list Klamath spring Chinook as threatened. Even with a proposed listing the California Department of Fish and Game continues to allow retention of wild springers and federal managers recently reduced instream flows for the Klamath to maximize irrigation deliveries. t present Compounding the situation are PacifiCorp's demand of adequate flows for power generation until removal, recent speculation that the the dam removal will be delayed and provisions in the House's version of the budget that block funding for the dam removal. At the moment the agreed upon 2020 removal date appears tenuous at best.Lots more Felice Pace's Klamath River blog:

an OPB article:

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