Hayley Hutt: Dam removal needed on Klamath to restore salmon

"Two major events that could decide the fate of Klamath salmon recently occurred. First, the Department of Interior decided to analyze putting extra water into the Trinity River to avert a possible fish kill. Second, the California State Water Resources Control Board decided to let Warren Buffett's PacifiCorp, the owner of the Klamath dams, delay a Clean Water Act permit process for the seventh year.

Both events show the contrast between the public and scientific processes used to restore the Trinity River; to take down the Condit Dam in Washington state; and the politically motivated Klamath settlements. Dam removal is needed in the Klamath, but a costly and dangerous water deal is not.

For 40 years, up to 90 percent of the Trinity River, the Klamath's largest tributary, was diverted to the Central Valley. Then, in 2000 — after a 15-year flow study and a public process — the Trinity River Record of Decision was signed. This ROD called for the Trinity to receive 47 percent of flows and appropriations for restoration. Salmon and tribal rights were balanced with farmers' needs, and salmon began to rebound. This effort coupled with ocean conditions account for much of this year's salmon run. This ROD is why more Trinity water may be available for Klamath salmon."

Get the Story:
Hayley Hutt: Ten years after fish kill, stalling threatens salmon (The Redding Record-Searchlight 7/19)

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