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Push the studies on Chiloquin Dam

Published March 18, 2004

Keep the studies moving about removal of Chiloquin Dam.

Everyone in the Basin stands to benefit from quick resolution of remaining questions about taking the dam out. Those question need to be resolved by government studies dealing with the Endangered Species Act. Such studies can be lengthy, and thus it was good news Wednesday when a federal government representative said the government wants to get the studies done this year. An estimated $2.1 million is in the federal budget next year for the dam's removal.

There's wide - but not unanimous - agreement on the need to remove the small dam on the Sprague River. The removal could help with the Basin's endangered fish problems, which have a big impact on the Basin's water problems.

The small diversion structure was built about 90 years ago to send water to the 5,000-acre Modoc Point Irrigation District. It cut off access to a large spawning area for two species of suckers, which are classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

An increased spawning area could solve one of the many Basin resource issues. One of the keys to the issue - the Klamath Tribes - hasn't taken an official position on the dam, waiting to see what the potential impact of the dam's removal would be on the sucker fishery. It has concerns that release of sediment during the dam's removal could hurt sucker spawning.

That's one of the reasons for the studies. Another is the need to show how the irrigation district would get water.

Push the studies. Make sure the science is solid, but push the studies.

The "H&N view" represents the opinion of the newspaper's editorial board, which consists of Publisher John Walker, Editor Tim Fought, City Editor Todd Kepple and Opinion Editor Pat Bushey.





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