[env-trinity] SF Chronicle August 4 - Klamath Dams

Byron bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Aug 7 16:00:12 PDT 2006


KLAMATH RIVER 
Utility amenable to removing 4 dams

San Francisco Chronicle - 8/4/06

By Glen Martin, Staff Writer 

 

In a move that could boost the Klamath River's depleted salmon runs, a
utility company announced this week that it is willing to discuss removal of
four hydroelectric dams on the river's upper reaches. 

 

The announcement by dam owner PacifiCorp has implications beyond the
Klamath. The commercial salmon season was slashed in California and Oregon
this year because of low numbers of salmon returning to the river. 

 

Fishermen fought the federal decision to curtail the catch because offshore
waters are teeming with salmon from the Sacramento River. But because fish
from the two river systems mingle in the open sea, regulators maintained
Sacramento salmon could not be caught without further endangering Klamath
salmon. 

 

The four dams, which are scheduled for relicensing this year by the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission, are considered obstacles to reviving the runs.
Water collects in pools behind the dams and warms in sunlight. Warm water is
lethal to salmon and also spurs growth of toxic blue-green algae. 

 

Removing the dams could expand spawning habitat for the Klamath's chinook
salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout. 

 

In a news release, PacifiCorp President William Fehrman said the company was
swayed by the concerns of Indian tribes that live along the Klamath and rely
on the fish for food. 

 

Until this week, the company had not indicated any willingness to remove the
dams. But Fehrman said PacifiCorp now is "not opposed" as long as its power
customers are safeguarded and company property rights are guaranteed. 

 

In another Klamath development, salmon fishermen have filed a lawsuit
accusing the National Marine Fisheries Service of using poor science in
setting Pacific Coast salmon quotas for the 2006 season. 

 

Ben Platt, a spokesman for the Salmon Trollers Marketing Association of Fort
Bragg, said the lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Oakland. The
suit claims federal officials used erroneous data to set the extremely
restrictive salmon quotas fishermen are now working under. 

 

Platt said his group wants an injunction that would allow trollers to catch
more fish. The season ends in October.

 

NMFS spokesman Jim Milbury said Thursday that the agency had not yet seen
the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

 

 

Byron Leydecker

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

Advisor, California Trout, Inc

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 ph

415 383 9562 fx

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

http://www.fotr.org

http:www.caltrout.org 

 

 

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