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Klamath dams study broke law, agency says
Relicensing - NOAA Fisheries says an energy panel should have looked at removing all 4 dams

(Response to article by KBC reader: "NOAA should look at their own data.  It was their graph that showed that the steelhead returns to Irongate fish hatchery increased roughly 2% per year for 24-years.  This changed only when ocean conditions changed in 1985-1987.")

December 02, 2006 Jeff Barnard, The Oregonian

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should analyze removing all four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to help struggling salmon, says the federal agency in charge of restoring their runs.

In comments on the regulatory commission's initial look at relicensing the aging dams, NOAA Fisheries said the commission's approach in a draft environmental impact statement violated federal law requiring analysis of a full range of alternatives.

Meanwhile, PacifiCorp, the Portland-based utility that owns the four dams straddling the Oregon-California border, said it has revised its proposal to truck adult and juvenile fish around all four dams.

The new proposal calls for modifying the four dams to allow young fish migrating downstream to swim past the dams on their own. A fish ladder would be built to allow adults to swim over J.C. Boyle Dam, the farthest upstream and the top electricity producer.

Adult salmon returning to spawn would be trucked around the three downstream dams, and some would be trucked around J.C. Boyle.

PacifiCorp, which serves 1.6 million customers in six Western states, is seeking a new operating license for the Iron Gate, J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1 and Copco No. 2 dams.

Friday was the deadline for responses to the energy commission's initial look at what changes would be required to relicense the dams.

The commission must balance the value of the power generated by the dams against the cost to fish. NOAA Fisheries had advised the fish are more valuable than the power.

FERC's draft environmental impact statement looked at removing the two tallest dams, building fish ladders and trucking fish around the dams.

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