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 www.caltrout.org.