Opinion: Hope flows again through Klamath River deal
"The river rose last night. Three inches of rain in 36 hours, a neighbor reported. Hopefully, somewhere in the high country that translates into the beginnings of an ample snowpack, which will later deliver enough cold, oxygenated water back into the Klamath all year long for fisheries to survive. Between climate change and a century of dams on the Klamath, even a good snowpack is a drop in the bucket, though.

The river rose last night.

Now it dances, muddy and wild, over and around boulders between steep mountainsides crawling in mist, down to the Klamath, out to the sea. On its way there, some of the water spills around a river bar and backs into the eddies at the mouth of the creek near my house. This creates the slack-water environment along the edges where coho salmon thrive when they are young.

But will there be any coho salmon by 2020, when politicians and power company executives promise that four destructive Klamath River hydroelectric dams will be torn down? And couldn't we take those dams out a whole lot sooner? These are common questions, and good ones. These questions have good answers.

Frankly, it would be hard to create a more ambitious timeline for removal than the one found in the dam removal settlement without bypassing bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. These antiquated dams were constructed without environmental review. It was a mistake that has cost our river plenty, and it would be imprudent to decommission them now without taking the time to do it right."

Get the Story:
Erica Terence: As river rises, so does momentum for settlement to remove four Klamath dams (The Eureka Times-Standard 2/25)

Another Opinion:
Karla Kay Edwards: Klamath restoration pact will impact whole state (The Lake Oswego Review 2/25)

Also Today:
Landmark Klamath River restoration and dam removal agreements signed (Indian Country Today 2/25)
Oregon Klamath Basin deal a boon for farmers, fish (AP 2/25)

Related Stories:
Hoopa Valley Tribe votes against Klamath dam deal (2/11)
Editorial: A win for tribes in Klamath River war (10/5)
Opinion: Breaching the Klamath Basin dams (10/1)
Utility agrees to remove Klamath Basin dams (9/30)