Siskiyou County officials think alternatives to dam removal should be considered, including a 12-mile fish bypass that would follow existing streams from below Iron Gate dam and connect with Copco Lake.
It would require building a short canal between two of the streams.
The plan, called the Hart Bypass, is in a congressional briefing paper, “Solutions and Alternatives for the Klamath River”, issued by the county in August. It would allow fish to bypass the Irongate, Copco 1 and Copco 2 dams. The fourth dam in the proposed agreement is J.C. Boyle in Klamath County.
The paper also details other alternatives.
For cold-water fisheries, the paper says propagation alternatives, such as those used in Alaska, have been ignored. It also urges further study of transporting, or trucking, smolts (young salmon). Further study of fish diseases and fish populations also is needed, county officials said.
“Despite press reports to the contrary,” the paper says of a 2004 National Research Council Committee report, “we have nothing that would indicate that a dramatic increase in salmon and steelhead populations will occur following the removal of the dams.”
Siskiyou County officials also think other issues need to be considered, such as developing a water storage project at Long Lake in Klamath County and the potential impact on fisheries if an estimated 20 million cubic yards of sediment behind the four dams is released.