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PacifiCorp seeks ITPs for dam operations

 By David Smith Siskiyou Daily News May 10, 2011
The timeline for two Klamath River agreements continues to flow, with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) releasing a number of documents Monday related to utility PacifiCorp’s request for a permit allowing the incidental take of listed fish species during the next 10 years.

PacifiCorp anticipates that under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement it will see four of its dams on the Klamath River removed in 2020, and in the interim, the company is seeking Incidental Take Permits for a variety of species that may be killed, or “taken”, during dam operations.

According to the draft environmental assessment issued by NMFS, PacifiCorp must implement a Habitat Conservation Plan, developed in concert with the agency. Included in that plan is a turbine venting action that would increase dissolved oxygen downstream from the dams, an increase of flow variability that could scour disease-causing organisms from the riverbed, an increase in large woody debris downstream from the dams and the establishment of a fish disease research fund and a coho enhancement fund.

The environmental assessment is summarized with the statement, “While there are a myriad of adverse impacts to the environment, including aquatic species, which have occurred from past Federal and non-Federal actions in the basin, NMFS believes that the proposed action will not contribute to significant adverse impacts.

“To the contrary, NMFS believes the proposed action will result in beneficial impacts as PacifiCorp will be taking actions to improve the human environment over the next 10 years until fish passage is established either through dam removal or volitional fish passage.”

All of the documents related to the incidental take permit assessment and habitat conservation plan can be found at http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov / by clicking on “Latest News.”

– David Smith can be reached at dsmith@siskiyoudaily.com

NEPA document for Klamath Dams and Pacificorp May 2011


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