Dam relicensing--Fish ladders can be a win-win situation for everyone

Dear Governors Schwarzenegger (CA) and Kulongoski (OR):

The Board of Supervisors of Siskiyou County would like to suggest to you a “win-win” opportunity for the Klamath River related to fisheries.  After two members of the Board attended the recent Klamath Watershed Congress last week and listening to the desires of the community of the Klamath River, we urge you to support fish passage around the dams of the Klamath River.   Fish “ladders” meet all the actual goals of all the various stakeholders in the Basin and would allow all groups to claim that they have “won” the fight.

The following are summaries of the “wins” allowed by fish ladders:

            Increased fish spawning and rearing habitat – Tribal, Federal fish and wildlife, and coastal fisheries users seek additional spawning and rearing habitat.

            Eliminate destruction of a year class – Salmon runs consist of 4-year stocks.  Current proposals for dam elimination could result in extensive short-term destruction of fisheries habitat due to siltation with the possibility of complete annihilation and starvation of one-fourth of the Klamath River salmon run.

            Keeping the hatchery production supplement – Coastal fisheries users will benefit from supplementing wild stock numbers. 

Governors Schwarzenegger and Kulongoski

            Current proposals would eliminate hatchery production with   removal of dams, additional numbers of salmon may not be replaced by wild stocks.

No increase in global warming – All current proposals to replace power generated by the dams could cause an increase in global warming because of potential emissions which do not exist with hydroelectric generation.

            Saving of taxpayer or ratepayer costs – Fish ladders would be a less drastic and more inexpensive approach than dam removal and would avoid the loss of value of lakefront property owners.

            Influx of funds for construction – Construction of the fish ladders would supply extensive short time construction jobs without the problems of dam removal such as spoils removal and extensive destruction of habitat by siltation.

            Allowing irrigators to keep productive agriculture in place – Fish ladders will allow irrigators to keep in place those dams needed for water control for irrigated family farms.

            Allowing water storage for fish use – Fish ladders will allow dams to be used to assist fish habitat in emergencies as suggested by the Hoopa Indian Reservation representative at the recent Klamath Fisheries Congress.

            Fish ladders could be paid for by a combination of ratepayer, Federal, State and corporate funds.

In addition to fish ladders over the Klamath River dams, we suggest that you both combine  to urge funding for a number of fish habitat projects on the tributaries of the Klamath River.  We have demonstrated increased fish production due to our many habitat improvements and we believe that there are numerous places where additional funds will greatly help increase spawning and rearing success.

We thank you for your careful consideration of this matter.   We stand ready to participate in any discussions you may wish to have concerning this matter of grave concern to the County of Siskiyou and its constituents.

Very truly yours,
Marcia H. Armstrong, Chair
Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors     
 P.O. Box 750 l 201 Fourth Street
(530) 842-8005
Yreka, California 96097  FAX (530) 842-8013

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