SAVE COPCO LAKE
Magalie R. Salas, Secretary
In consideration of the relicensing of Pacificorps Klamath River hydroelectric facilities, I strongly oppose removal of the dams. Opinions from special interest groups representing local tribes and fisherman have presented propaganda indicating this must be done in order to improve dangerous water quality and repopulate unreachable spawning grounds. They’ve presented visions of extreme hardships, natives unable to feed themselves and commercial fisherman unable to produce an income to survive. They’ve indicated dangerous levels of toxins in Iron Gate and Copco lakes that the World Health Organization would deem unacceptable.
Wealthy activists with far more funding than the common people who populate the area have been successful in presenting only over exaggerated negative facts. The Siskiyou County Health Department has no reported cases of illness due to heightened toxin levels, nor do residents or recreational users recall any. Commercial fisheries need to be closed any time a surplus of fish does not exist. Crab, salmon, steelhead, or bottom fish are all regulated for this reason. There have been many successful fishing seasons in past hundred years even with the dams. It is unfortunate that the Native Tribes cannot catch a salmon to complete their rituals, but many other wrongs occurred to them as well and there is no way to turn back the hands of times.
I agree that given the data and information we have compiled since the development of the Klamath hydroelectric project, that construction in present time would be completely different if not at all. However, removing the dams will only replace the 100-year-old ecosystem with barren hillsides from receded lakes, erosion and a hundred years of silt flushed down a once flourishing river. We do not know what the Klamath River outcome will be once the dams are gone or whether restoring the basin to it’s state prior to the project is possible. It may have been a mistake building them, but would certainly be a mistake to take them out.