Klamath Dam removal is hoax
By Frank Galusha, Editor
MyOutdoorBuddy is in favor of the Continuing Resolution bill passed by the House of Representatives on February 19 especially the provision that defunds the Klamath Basin Settlement Agreement; however, we are against two of the provisions inserted in the bill that will definitely hurt our Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley runs.
The first stops the spending of the National Marine Fisheries Service in enforcing the biological opinions that are now protecting the Central Valley salmon and steelhead from extinction. The second takes away the funding from the San Joaquin River Restoration project. We urge our readers to ask their senators to support removal of these provisions from the bill.
MyOutdoorBuddy.com parts company with Water4Fish regarding the third. In our view the Klamath Basin Settlement Agreement is an enormous hoax. Removing the dams on the Klamath River is highly problematic. Dam removal does not assure the survival of our fish, especially our fall run Chinook.
Advocates for dam removal cannot prove dam removal will ensure passage of all our salmon runs into what is often incorrectly described as their historic spawning grounds in southern Oregon. There is little or no proof that salmon ever made that journey at least not in significant numbers. In addition, the environment in the Upper Klamath Basin has changed dramatically over the past 100 years.
If the dams are removed the Klamath River could run dry in the late fall and Upper Klamath Lake could be fatal to salmon due to high water temperatures. The studies now underway cannot possibly prove otherwise and until we see definite evidence that dam removal will aid our fish we are against their removal.
We also firmly believe that removing the dams could bring significant harm not only to the fish and the river but to the many stakeholders in the area who have fought the KBRA for years with little or no notice by the media.
Furthermore, we believe the estimated cost of removal of the dams is significantly underestimated just like all other government-inspired construction projects. What’s more, neither Oregon nor California can afford to fund measures for which there could scores of unexpected consequences.
If money is to be spent to help our fish in this area it should be spent on habitat restoration in the existing Klamath River Watershed and to attempt to clean up the water behind the dams. If we can turn sewage into potable water, surely we can clean up the water or reduce the amount of algae that occurs naturally in this region due to its volcanic origins.
Let’s not forget: The Klamath River is upside down—hot at the top and cold at the bottom. How can we expect salmon to make the journey through Upper Klamath Lake in the summer and early fall if the season is too hot or too dry or if the water is too warm or to low and also algae ridden, which it always is at that time of year. This water should be conserved, managed and released according to its availability and the needs of the fish. Allowing too much of it to flow to the sea at the wrong time could be disastrous.