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The Water Bond and Klamath Dams

We should also mention, in case it's been forgotton, that the voters of Siskiyou County voted 80% to 20% in 2010 to keep the dams.

Oct 03, 2014

There is $475-million in the California Water Bond for environmental enhancements that may very well include the destruction of the Klamath dams. You wouldn't think that a bond that claims it might-maybe give us one dam would include money to tear down four dams, especially in the drought situation we're now enduring.

Not only does it not make any sense for drought reasons, the article below lists other reasons including the fact that dam removal will kill hundreds of indiginous species, destruction of bird flyways above the dams, will hinder CalFire's ability to fight fires by removing the reservoirs, will subject communities and property owners to floods, and loss of recreational use hurting the economy.

We should also mention, in case it's been forgotton, that the voters of Siskiyou County voted 80% to 20% in 2010 to keep the dams.

We're trying to find the reasoning behind a bond that says it will build $2.5 billion worth of storage, while at the same time tears down four dams, one of which is in Oregon.

Klamath River Dam removal
Siskiyou Daily News
By Dr. Richard Gierak

I appreciate the article written by David Smith on Sept. 25 in the Siskiyou Daily News, however, I feel the upcoming election will present to voters Proposition 1, a water bond bill that irrationally funds new dam construction and the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. I believe that the full impact of Klamath River Dam removal should be presented to the public prior to the upcoming election.

Considering the severe drought we are all enduring any thought of removing water storage dams is ludicrous. I wrote a letter to Senator Feinstein alluding to the factual reasons why the Klamath dams should not be removed. The following are the primary scientific points that were shared with her.

Dam removal will kill hundreds of indigenous species in the Klamath Basin by release of 20 million cubic yards of toxic sludge into the Klamath and destruction of bird flyways above the dams in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Release of a biomass quantity of Yellow Perch which will decimate Salmon spawning grounds and the loss of Iron Gate Hatchery which provides over 6 million salmon based on their present protocols which will destroy salmon production in the Klamath Basin. As to salmon production, it is to be noted that in 1950, the total salmon catch in the Pacific Northwest was 149,000 metric tons and in 2007 was 403,000 metric tons indicating a healthy and viable salmon industry. Violation of CAL FIRE’s ability to control wildfires as removal of reservoirs will force fire helicopters to travel much greater distances to re-fill their buckets to fight forest fires placing all at risk.

In 1960, the State Water Rights Board approved the construction of Iron Gate dam, “The dam will serve for both power and flood control, thus lessening flood danger in the Klamath area.” Removal of dams will subject communities and property owners to inundating floods downriver not to mention that the proposed threat of removing the Copco dams that upscale community property values have plummeted. In addition, Siskiyou County’s regional and resident income will collapse due to loss of recreational use, increasing regulatory oppression to meet ‘naturally’ unattainable demands, uncompensated damages to public/private environment and infrastructure, and the usurpation of local jurisdiction to the unaffected whims of a profiting few.

Not only will we be severely affected by dam removal we must also consider the impact on the Rogue Valley Irrigation District in Southern Oregon. Four Mile Lake, Howard Prairie Lake and Hyatt Lake, which get their water from the Klamath Basin Watershed may no longer be available to the Rogue Valley as “environmental water” would be used in the Klamath River for salmon. Finally, dam removal would be a violation of the Constitution of the United States as Siskiyou County voters clearly stated in the 2010 election by a vote of 80 percent to retain the dams on the Klamath River. What happened to BY THE PEOPLE – FOR THE PEOPLE?

Senator Feinstein was most gracious in responding to my letter regarding this issue and her base comment was that she disagreed with the above and would continue to support dam removals on the Klamath River. It is also of interest to note that she co-sponsored S 2379, or S2376, which calls for removal of the four Klamath River dams regardless of the effects on the environment, indigenous fish, animals, birds and the present human population. Consider these points when you reach the polling booths.

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