[env-trinity] Times Standard:Report says dam removal good for Klamath sal...

FISH1IFR@aol.com FISH1IFR at aol.com
Tue Feb 5 09:18:02 PST 2013


This final summary report, the product of more than 50 separate studies,  
and a highly rigorous and unusual triple level of peer review, is  available, 
as are the studies themselves for those who want them, at: _www.kl
amathrestoration.gov_ (http://www.klamathrestoration.gov) .    -- Glen Spain
 
 
In a message dated 2/5/2013 8:23:21 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
tstokely at att.net writes:

_http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_22521623/report-says-dam-removal
-good-klamath-salmon#_ 
(http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_22521623/report-says-dam-removal-good-klamath-salmon#)  
     
      
 
 
     
Report says  dam removal good for Klamath salmon
Jeff  Barnard/AP Environmental Writer Eureka Times Standard
Posted:
_Times-Standard.com_ (http://times-standard.com/) 

 
GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- A federal  report says removing four hydroelectric 
dams on the Klamath River  in Oregon and California and restoring ecosystems 
will produce a  big increase in salmon harvests and boost farm revenues. 
The 400-page report was  produced by federal scientists to help the 
secretary of Interior  evaluate whether it is in the public interest to go ahead 
with the  $1 billion project, which is considered the biggest dam removal in  
U.S. history if it goes through as planned in 2020. 
”In the long run, all the  anadramous fish (salmon, steelhead, and lamprey) 
benefit from dam  removal, according to our analysis,” Dennis Lynch, 
program manager  for the U.S. Geological Survey, who oversaw the report, said  
Monday. 
The report notes that wild  salmon runs have dropped more than 90 percent 
from the dams,  overfishing, poor water quality, disease and habitat loss. It 
said  there was a moderate to high probability that removing the dams  and 
restoring the environment would improve water quality, fish  habitat, and 
water quality, and reduce fish disease a toxic algae  blooms. The project 
would also improve the ability of fish to cope  with global warming, by opening 
up more access to cold water. 
Though there would be a  short-term loss of less than 10 percent of chinook 
and coho salmon  due to the release of sediments built up behind the dams, 
their  numbers would grow by 80 percent over the long term due to opening  
up more than 420 miles of habitat blocked by the dams since 1922,  the report 
said. 
Overall, the benefits far  outweigh the costs, by as much as 47.6 to one, 
the report  found. 
The report estimates that dam  removal would increase commercial fishing 
harvests of Klamath  chinook 43 percent over the next 50 years, for a value of 
$134.5  million. Sport and tribal harvests would also climb. More  
irrigation for farms during drought years under terms of the  Klamath Basin 
Restoration Agreement would produce economic  benefits one out of every 10 years, 
for increased value of $30  million over the next 50 years. More water for 
wildlife refuges  that depend on leftover irrigation water would produce more  
waterfowl, generating a $4.3 million boost from hunting. 
There would be a $35 million  loss in recreation revenues from the loss of 
the reservoirs behind  the dams over the next 50 years. 
Dam removal and ecosystem  restoration have been endorsed by the states of 
Oregon and  California, the dam owners and 42 groups representing Indian  
tribes, salmon fishermen, farmers and conservation groups. But the  project 
has been stalled in Congress, where the House and Senate  last year did not 
take up legislation that would authorize the  Secretary of Interior Ken 
Salazar to proceed and appropriate up to  $800 million for ecosystem restoration. 
”We're pleased that this step  in the evaluation process is complete and 
are eager to see  increased focus on the settlement agreements from Congress 
this  year,” said PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely. 
The estimated $291 million cost  of removing the dams would be paid mostly 
from a surcharge on  electric rates that has already been approved. The 
state of  California has yet to come up with a way to pay its share. 
The report represents the  compilation of 50 separate reports on issues 
including biology,  hydrology and economics. It does not differ significantly 
from a  draft produced last year, which went through extensive peer  review. 
It was posted to a government website late Friday, and  will be delivered to 
Salazar this week, Lynch said. 
Straddling the  Oregon-California border, the Klamath Basin regularly has 
trouble  meeting the water demands of farms on the federal irrigation  
project at the top of the basin, endangered sucker fish in the  irrigation 
system's main reservoir, and threatened coho salmon in  the Klamath River. Chinook 
salmon returns to the Klamath are  important for sport, commercial and 
tribal salmon harvests. 
The federal government shut off  water to most of the farms in 2001 to 
protect the salmon. After a  summer of bitter protests and political battles, 
the Bush  administration restored irrigation in 2002, only to see tens of  
thousands of adult salmon die of gill rot diseases that spread  rapidly between 
fish crowded into low pools of warm water. 
The two events led many  farmers, tribes, conservation groups and salmon 
fishermen to  overcome their longstanding differences and agree to a  
water-sharing plan that is linked to removing four small  hydroelectric dams owned 
by PacifiCorp that serve 70,000 customers  in southern Oregon and Northern 
California. 
------ 
On the Web: Klamath Dam Removal  report: _http://1.usa.gov/VN0uqR_ 
(http://1.usa.gov/VN0uqR) 


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