Restoration Projects For Klamath Watershed
Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife
State and federal officials Monday announced the selection of four
restoration projects designed to enhance coho salmon habitat in
the Klamath River watershed.
The projects will be funded through the new "Coho Enhancement
Fund" established by PacifiCorp as part of the settlement
discussions concerning the relicensing of the power company's
Klamath River Hydroelectric Project. Those discussions include
consideration of removal of project dams that block fish passage.
The projects, which include installing fish screens and increasing
stream flows, will significantly benefit endangered fish
populations, according to company officials.
Specific projects include:
-- Scott River Diversion improvements,
-- Denny Ditch fish screen in the Scott River,
-- Seiad Creek channel reconstruction --phase I and
-- Seiad Creek off-channel pond habitat construction.
"The funded projects demonstrate PacifiCorp's commitment to taking
action with these significant measures to protect and enhance
environmental resources of the Klamath basin," said Diane Barr,
PacifiCorp's environmental analyst. "We'll continue to use a
balanced and pragmatic approach while the public policy decisions
run their course."
The Coho Enhancement Fund will provide approximately $500,000
annually for projects that benefit coho salmon listed under the
Endangered Species Act. The fund was established by PacifiCorp as
part of its Interim Conservation Plan for the Klamath
PacifiCorp developed the plan in conjunction with the National
Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
state fishery biologists during negotiations regarding the
potential removal of four Klamath River main stem dams. The
Secretary of the Interior will make the final determination in
2012 whether to proceed with dam removal, pending completion of
scientific studies and environmental review necessary to assess
whether the potential benefits of dam removal outweigh the
potential liabilities and risks. The dam removals could occur as
early as 2020.
"The projects empowered this year by the Coho Enhancement Fund
withstood scientific review and illustrated a pressing
conservation need," said Gary Stacey, California Department of
Fish and Game's Northern Regional manager. "Every project will
trigger additional environmental benefits that go beyond improving
conditions for coho salmon. We eagerly look forward to their
"We're extremely pleased to be working with both PacifiCorp and
our agency partners on this important program," said Jeff Trandahl
of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which will
administer the fund. "It's a natural complement to our existing
work in the Klamath watershed and we're excited to join in such a
results-oriented effort to restore critical coho habitat and
improve the river flows on which they depend."
"The Coho Enhancement Fund represents an important partnership for
NOAA Fisheries, along with our co-manager, DFG and the hydropower
dams owner, PacifiCorp," said Rodney McInnis, NOAA Fisheries
Service Southwest Regional administrator. "We're optimistic that
restoration actions enabled by the fund will afford interim
protections for coho by benefiting wild populations in the Klamath
A final Klamath River Hydroelectric Project settlement agreement
is scheduled for completion in September 2009. Regardless of that
outcome, the Interim Conservation Plan provides benefits for coho
salmon and listed suckers prior to potential dam removal or until
a new project operating license is obtained.
PacifiCorp's 169-megawatt Klamath River Hydroelectric Project is
located in a predominantly rural area in southwestern Oregon
(Klamath County) and northern California (Siskiyou, Humboldt, and
Del Norte counties).
Originating from Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon, the
Klamath River flows 240 miles from Oregon into northern California
before emptying into the Pacific Ocean near Klamath, Calif.
Built between 1908 and 1962, the Klamath project consists of seven
hydroelectric developments and one nongenerating dam. The U.S.
Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation owns Link River
Dam which PacifiCorp operates in coordination with the company's
projects. The Link River Dam, located upstream of PacifiCorp's
projects, forms Upper Klamath Lake, the largest freshwater lake in
The federal government, states of California and Oregon and
PacifiCorp in November announced an "agreement in principle" that
takes first critical step toward consideration of dam removal.
The AIP provides a flexible framework for the presumed transfer of
four dams from PacifiCorp to a government designated dam removal
entity, which would then undertake the removal of the J.C. Boyle,
Copco 1 and Copco 2, and Iron Gate hydropower facilities. The dams
block passage for salmon, steelhead and lamprey to more than 300
of miles of spawning and rearing habitat.
Under the AIP, final authority for dam removal must be granted by
the Secretary of the Interior following an assessment to confirm
the current view of the federal and state governments that dam
removal is in the public interest. The AIP also requires
congressional authorization for dam removal.
The agreement in principle contains a complex framework for dam
removal that balances the timing of removal of each of the four
dams with operating conditions and the costs of replacement power
for PacifiCorp customers.
The CDFG in June 2004 approved a recovery strategy for California
coho salmon was approved. Projects such as those funded by the
Coho Enhancement Fund are part of the state agency's efforts to
protect and recover coho salmon.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is an independent 501(c)3
charity established by Congress in 1984. It aims to sustain,
restore and enhance the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and