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More press for river restoration on the KlamathSubmitted by John Seebach on Mon, 2006-08-14 17:02
The Eugene, OR Register Guard just published an editorial that does a good job of connecting the dots between the damage caused by PacifiCorp's Klamath river project and the West Coast's devastated salmon fishing industry. The editors see dam removal as part of the solution:
In another potentially major breakthrough, PacifiCorp, the Portland-based utility that owns the four Klamath dams, recently issued a statement that it's open to the removal of its Klamath dams. With PacifiCorp in the midst of an arduous relicensing process that could result in the company being ordered to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on fish-passage retrofitting, the prospects for removal of the dams have never been brighter.
The entire editorial is worth a read. It puts the damage caused by the hydropower project into greater perspective, showing how a highly-stressed river system has put an entire industry in danger of extinction:
[Congress and the White House] must also make the major investment necessary to fix the real cause of the salmon crisis: a Klamath River that once supported the third-largest salmon runs on the West Coast but has become one of the nation's most fouled-up waterways. [...] The Klamath's woes are many and complex. Its salmon are being killed by excessive water diversions from the federal irrigation project that provides water to the basin's farmers, by hydroelectric dams that block migrating salmon and turn the river into an unnaturally warm petri dish for fish-killing algae and bacteria, by unsound logging practices that contribute to erosion, by agricultural runoff, and by the loss of critical wetlands habitat. Federal disaster aid is essential for fishermen who are at risk of losing their boats and livelihoods - and for the businesses and coastal communities that rely on healthy fisheries for survival. But what they ultimately need is a river that produces bumper crops of healthy salmon.[...] The Klamath can be saved. All it takes it the political will - and vision - to do it.