Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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March 5, 2020
“Fish Passage” SCWUA response to KRRC Meurer
(by SCWUA/Siskiyou County Water Users Association to KRRC / Klamath River Renewal Corporation/dam removal group March 5, 2020
FOLLOWED BY: KRRC says fish passage system ‘doesn’t address’ other dam problems
The last two paragraphs of the article set forth the real problem here for the community and the region as Mr. Meurer clearly states that KRRC is not interested in reviewing any other ideas or looking at issues which may alleviate the proposal to remove the hydroelectric facilities even though such removal of the may be detrimental, in fact, extremely damaging to Siskiyou County and its citizens. Mr. Meurer is a part of the Matt Cox communications team formerly with Senator Ted Gaines “public relations” department. The goal of KRRC he states is “to simply implement the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement” as amended. They are not there to look at alternatives to dam removal. He is right; their job is unwaveringly to destroy the Dams for money and everything that goes with it. What’s wrong with this picture? The agreement he references (the amended KHSA 2016) certainly is questionable legally, as it flies in the face of the Compact clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The largest, potentially most damaging, Dam Removal project in the history of the world and KRRC is locked into removal and “dam the circumstances and results”. Yet, KRRC carries on with a farce of trying to show the public that they are interested in what the public has to say. A farce, which has spent upwards of Forty Million Dollars ($40,000,000) of taxpayer funds already to carry out their efforts. They make visits to various groups, and to Boards of Supervisors in the several impacted Counties in both California and Oregon. They pretend to be concerned and looking for solutions. But as Mr. Meurer, so ineloquently states, The States of Oregon and California do not want any fish passage that isn’t natural and in fact they are committed regardless of circumstances and potential biological damage to the destruction of the Klamath Dams in as what can best be described as a fervent “religious like” movement to “free the rivers”.
Siskiyou County Water Users (SCWUA) in an attempt to bring some positive quality to the issue of fish movement beyond the dams has suggested numerous ways this could be done from the recently viewed Whooshh Technologies Salmon mover, to earlier ideas of the Shasta by- pass tunnel, trap and haul, and most recently the hydraulic fish conveyor system. All of these ideas are intended to provide a method for moving the Salmon past the dams. The point is that the survival of the Salmon is questionable at best as the Klamath is an upside down temperature-gradient river. It is not only foreseeable but a most likely scenario that the Salmon will not survive the upper Klamath warm waters as well as the natural predators that exist there. It is only common sense that there should be an experiment, as to the question of Salmon survival, before tearing down the productive carbon free Klamath Dams which provide so many beneficial qualities to Siskiyou County and to the downriver human and animal populations which will be adversely affected with Dam Removal. Some of these benefits include providing incomparable views, a “sink” for sediments helping to clean the river, fire protection, a marginal flood control capability, a method to meet the court mandated “flow criteria”, opportunity to flush the river, a lake recreation area amongst others. Yet as many times as we have suggested that there be more studies done on this issue they are rejected out of hand because of this dogged and fervent desire to remove the Dams “at any cost” and let the sediment take its course plugging up the redds along the way and eventually being deposited in the estuary at the mouth of the Klamath destroying the shellfish population there. The process alone raises grave issues for the “Wild and Scenic Designation of the Klamath. The potential for a biological disaster is omnipresent in this ill-conceived removal of the Klamath Hydro Dams.
Mr. Meurer refers to the blue green algae problem. What we know for sure about the algae issue is that it is endemic to the river because of the upper Klamath issues relative to the bird flyway, volcanic soils, and other natural and man- made causes. The Klamath since time immemorial has been plagued by algae and by floods and draught. This has been attested to as early as the 1850’s when expeditions to the area reported on the poor condition of the Klamath River. This condition has been further attested to in the 1990 publication by the Department of the Interior which addresses the poor water quality condition which identifies Upper Klamath Lake as a source of nonpoint pollution as Klamath Lake as a hyper-eutrophic lake in section 2 page 42 of that study. This raises another issue which has not adequately been discussed and that is the water quality coming into California from Oregon. This issue was raised some years ago by Grace Bennett then Chairperson of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors. The solution to the water quality issues rests with the State of Oregon and theoretically should have been raised by the California Representative to the Klamath Compact Commission (created in 1957) which was made responsible by Act of Congress to settle these types of issues which could be resolved by installing proper filtration of the Klamath prior to entering into California. These are issues which should be open to discussion through the Compact Commission but which have been neglected for decades. The KRRC and the various NGO’s and States of California and Oregon have chosen to ignore “real solutions” to the Salmon and water quality in favor of “politically orchestrated “solutions papered with funding from “surcharges” of the ratepayers and funds from taxpayers duped into approving Prop One in California, thinking they were approving methods to increase supplies of water not decrease them.
The real solution to the issues at hand is to retain the hydro facilities and to improve the damage done in the “1964 floods” (increasing the capacity of existing “redds”) to the Klamath River and find other solutions to water quality coming from Oregon. This river damage included severely impairing the hydrography of the Klamath River. Let’s hope that sanity will prevail at some point to provide economically doable solutions.
Siskiyou County Water Users Assoc.
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KRRC says fish passage system ‘doesn’t address’ other dam problems
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