Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Step in the Removal of the Dams on the Klamath

Still a long way to go, but more progress than many expected from this Administration.

In twenty years, salmon may once again swim the length of the Klamath River.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Judge: Water board must review decision on Klamath River algae

In a recent ruling that may have broad implications for dams throughout California, Superior Court Judge Elaine Rushing has invited the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to exercise its congressionally mandated authority to regulate water quality, a news release stated.

The ruling stems from a suit filed by Klamath Riverkeeper, the Karuk Tribe and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations against the NCRWQCB.

The groups filed suit last August after the board rejected their petition to regulate toxic waste discharges from PacifiCorp’s Klamath River dams. More...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Buffett again rebuffs advocates who want Klamath dams out

From the AP: "American Indian tribes and salmon fisherman were rebuffed a second time Saturday in their bid to win support from billionaire Warren Buffett for a proposal to remove four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River."

The road gets tougher for the dams coming down. It's unlikely that regulators from California, Oregon and the federal government will force PacifiCorp to pull down those dams. And even if they tried, who's going to pay for it? PacifiCorp would tie it up in court for years. Meanwhile, the lower river tribes and the salmon will continue to struggle.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yet Another Complication in the Klamath

From Jeff Barnard of the AP: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has listed toxins from blue-green algae as another pollutant of the Klamath River behind the hydroelectric dams that Indian tribes, fishermen and conservation groups want removed to make way for salmon.

The algae toxins in the Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs now must be considered along with other pollutants by the California Water Board as it considers whether to grant the Clean Water Act certification needed by the Portland-based utility PacifiCorp to get a new operating license for four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

NPR Story on the Klamath Dams

NPR looks at the Klamath controversy and the possible removal of the four Klamath River dams.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Irrigators clash over proposed Klamath deal

Interesting article from the California Farm Bureau about divisions within the Klamath Basin agricultural community concerning the proposed settlement agreement. More evidence that finalizing the landmark agreement faces a steep path.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hope in the Klamath Basin

Here's an opinion piece in the Oregonian by two longtime players in the struggle over Klamath water rights and the dams (Troy Fletcher is one of the main characters in the documentary). Interesting paragraph about PacifiCorp's role:

"... the proposed agreement included only commitments between the 26 parties not related to PacifiCorp and its facilities. A separate companion agreement with PacifiCorp is still in negotiation. There have been 16 separate meetings with the PacifiCorp's president or general counsel over the last two years centered solely on PacificCorp's Klamath River hydropower dams."

A hopeful note, because as I mentioned below, without PacifiCorp's participation in an agreement about the dams there's little hope for a lasting settlement, no matter what the other stakeholders agree on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Deal on Dams on Klamath Advances

The New York Times reports on the landmark $1 billion agreement between the upstream and downstream interests in the Klamath Basin. It's potentially a milestone; just the fact that these groups with such conflicting interests were able to sit down and negotiate such a deal is remarkable.

When I was doing the reporting for the documentary, I heard that the opposing groups were meeting (in secret at that time) and trying to reach some common ground. I admit I thought the prospects were dim they'd get this far.

Yet the cold fact is that it is still basically up to PacifiCorp if the dams are to be removed and key parts of this agreement implemented. And I believe chances of that are slim. There are huge costs, monumental engineering challenges, and many intervening variables; including conflicting government jurisdictions and environmental concerns that still have not been resolved.

I hope I'm wrong. As I pointed out above, I never thought they'd get this far. But there still is a long way to go before we see those dams come down and the historic salmon runs reopened in one of the most beautiful regions of the west.

Monday, January 14, 2008

On the Klamath River, a salmon is worth $200

An article in the SF Chronicle on the economic impact of sport fishing in California. Total for the California economy spent by fishermen per year: $2 billion. The full report is on