Klamath River Dam Removal Meeting

SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division researchers Cindy Thomson and Steve Lindley attended a May 21 meeting of Federal and State agencies and Klamath River stakeholders in Klamath, California. Thomson co-chairs a DOI-NOAA team of economists responsible for producing an economic analysis that will inform the U.S. Government decision regarding removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River; she discussed content and timelines for the economic analysis. Lindley presented a habitat-based model of salmonid production potential that will be critical for evaluating the effects of dam removal on fisheries and Tribes.

Oversubscription of Klamath River water has thwarted recovery of depressed fish stocks (including ESA-listed coho salmon) and lead to economic hardship for farming and fishing communities, prompting federal disaster relief for farmers in 2001 and for fishermen in 2006. The October 2011 dam removal decision is contingent on an agreement being negotiated by Federal and State governmental entities, the utility company PacifiCorp and other stakeholders, as well as results of the economic analysis. If implemented, this dam removal project will be the largest in U.S. history and will be integral to a comprehensive solution to species recovery, water allocation and water quality problems in the Klamath Basin.

(June 2, 2009)