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Calif. Ocean Protection Council to hear Klamath settlement talks

October 24, 2007 by Michelle Ma, Triplicate 

California Ocean Protection Council members will be in Humboldt County this week to hear an update on Klamath River settlement talks and discuss other issues.

Council members will take a boat tour along the Klamath River today to learn more about the river and issues of fish health and water quality. The council meeting will take place Thursday in Eureka.

At Thursday's meeting, the Ocean Protection Council—whose members include Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman—will hear its first full presentation on the progress of the Klamath River settlement negotiations since they began about three years ago.

Twenty-six parties are taking part in these discussions, including representatives from state and federal agencies, counties, tribes, environmental groups, commercial fishing and the agricultural community, said Greg Hurner, senior adviser to the director of the Department of Fish and Game. Hurner is acting as the lead negotiator for the Administration on the Klamath settlement.

"I hope to provide a little perspective to the council members on where things have been historically, the progress of the group so far and the timing of when we're hoping to reach a resolution," Hurner said.

These negotiations are taking place as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission considers relicensing PacifiCorp's dams on the Klamath River to operate for another 30 to 50 years.

Hurner said he is bound by the confidentiality agreement on settlement talks and can't go into details about the negotiations at Thursday's public meeting. But he hopes to emphasize the group's hard work and collaboration.

Negotiation parties have met at least four days every month, with many conference calls and smaller group meetings in between, Hurner said.

As the process moves along, they have been meeting for three or four days almost every other week.

"The group is working really hard right now and trying to work out the last remaining difficult issues," he said.

The council also will discuss at Thursday's meeting a possible commitment of $7.5 million to mapping California's ocean waters, a key project in the council's strategic plan, said Council Secretary Sam Schuchat.

Reach Michelle Ma at mma@triplicate.com.


If you go:

What: California Ocean Protection Council meeting

When: Thursday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: The Warfinger Building, #1 Marina Way, Eurek

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