USFWS official presents one view of agreement
(KBC NOTE: Did Detrich tell Dunsmuir that there's no proof salmon ever thrived in the Upper Klamath Basin? that the Klamath Tribes, to receive 92,000 acres forest land, sold their reservation 2ce, and voted for termination? Did he say that the Karuk tribe spearheading this anti-dam movement has no fishing right presently on the Klamath River? That the agreement says we give our water rights to the Klamath Tribes? That the feds have already taken 2/3s of the Off Project land irrigated by surface water and this agreement demands 30,000 more acre feet of their remaining water rights? Did he tell them that all the Siskiyou County Granges, Cattlemen's Association, and Water for Life oppose this document? And the districts did not get to vote..only the leaders? Did he tell them about the blackmail..sign on or else? Did he tell them the public has no input into this new governmental entity? That this has ripped apart our communities like nothing ever before?)
By Earl Bolender, March 26, 2008 Mt Shasta News
Though the proposed Klamath Basin Restoration
Agreement has sparked great controversy in Siskiyou
County, a mild gathering of about 30 people heard Phil
Detrich of the US Fish and Wildlife service extol the
plan's virtues Thursday night in Dunsmuir.
Detrich said he believes the agreement's plan to remove four hydro-electric dams, allocate water and manage the fishery would be beneficial to both fish and people.
The presentation was sponsored by the Upper Sacramento River Exchange and held at the Brown Trout Cafe.
Detrich focused on what those involved in the
proposed agreement see as benefits, including improved
water quality and habitat in the lower river, improved
water quantity for irrigators, and improved fishery
harvests (commercial and recreational).
He said the gathering in Dunsmuir, where no opposition was raised, was the most calm of 10 presentations he has made.
The proposed agreement has been publicly denounced in several public forums since its release in January.
Among the concerns are that, as written, the $985
million agreement plan has the potential of benefiting
one group of irrigators over others - specifically those
already receiving subsidized water from the Bureau of
Reclamation's Klamath Project; encroachment of private
property rights; deceased property values; increased
regulations; and adverse impact on water quality.
Detrich agreed that the agreement, which opponents say was reached in secret without input from all stakeholders in the Klamath Basin, is not without controversy. However, he said it goes a long way in attempting to reverse 150 years of impact on the river resulting from mining, logging, agriculture, fish harvest and hydro-electric dams.
At the heart of the agreement, which was initially reached by 26 state, local, tribal, private and federal entities, is the removal of four hydro-electric dams - Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2 and JC Boyle.
Detrich said removal of the dams would provide access
to more than 300 miles of salmon spawning habitat that
has been blocked for nearly a century.
PacifiCorp has stated it is not totally opposed to removal of the dams if its customers do not have to absorb the costs. PacifiCorp has also questioned whether the cost of dam removal is the least costly solution.
During Thursday's meeting, Detrich said removal of the dams may very well be less costly than the alternative of building fish ladders and screens. New mandates that were implemented by fisheries agencies of the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior and backed by an administrative law judge require PacifiCorp to build fish ladders and make other modifications in order to obtain a new license for dam operation.
The fish ladder requirement, which would provide
salmon access to spawning grounds above the dams,
includes Keno Dam, located in Klamath County, Ore.
“The estimated cost of each fish ladder is in excess of $60 million,” Detrich said. “It could very well be much more cost effective to simply remove the dams.”
In conclusion, he said a major component of the proposed agreement is public relations.
“We need to stop pointing fingers and work together
for the betterment of all concerned,” Detrich said. “I
think this is a big step toward ‘Peace on the River.'”
More information on the Klamath restoration effort can be found at www.edsheets.com, which includes the proposed Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and a summary of the agreement.