Updated 4-06

Currently the dams at Iron Gate, Copco, Copco II and Boyle Powerhouse on the Klamath river are under threat of being removed. It is the purpose of this site to keep you informed on this particular issue.

As of february 24 2004 Pacificorp filed for relicensing of the Klamath River Hydro Project for 2006. Pacific Power and Light operates these Hydroelectric Power dams and currently has no intention of decommissioning them. However, since then I have heard several new options. I have not confirmed but have been told that Pacificorp stated that the dams could be removed by native american groups

The threat comes from small special interest groups.
Below are some arguments on why the dams should not be removed.

1. Salmon above Copco. The salmon run that traveled above copco to the upper tributaries of the Klamath is gone. It cannot be restored. Many attempts to bring salmon runs back to specific tributaries of other rivers where the strains have been whipped out have failed.

2. Water Quality. If you are worried about the downstream water quality then stop the field flooding of farm and cattle range land along the river. Field flooding can raise the temperature of the water as well as the runoff of fertilizers that has caused the overgrowth of Klamathon Blue Green algae and Duck weed in the river and lakes. This causes an increase in water temperature and lower water quality. Since I support aggriculture this is a difficult issue for me. Some of my families friends have been ranchers along the Klamath who did field flood. If the dams are removed, mainly Copco, there are nearly 90 years of pesticides and fertilizers sitting in the silt and mud at the bottom of the lake which will all be washed downstream and into the food chain. On a side note the water quality in the klamath actaually improves as it gets closer to the ocean.

3. Wildlife. The lakes have established a large population Ducks, Bald Eagle and Osprey which feed on the abundant perch, bass, sunfish, crappie and other fish that have flourished in the lakes. If the lakes are removed the short term effects of all these fish entering the river downstream could be disastrous as they would feed on baby steelhead and salmon.

4. Loss of revenue to Siskiyou County. There would be class action suits for copco lake and Iron gate lake estates owners who have lake front or lake view property. The property values would drop causing a loss of property tax revenue to the state and county. The recreation revenue to the area would be lost and would impact other lakes with increased usage and traffic further impacting the fishing and use to these areas that in some cases are already over crowded.

5. Water supply. I would think if the lakes are removed that the water tables will drop in some areas. Many of the homes around the lakes, mainly copco, depend on well water that could be significantly decreased. While I personally disagree with the concept of STATE WATER PROJECTS and would rather see large areas to the south either stop growth or find ways to acquire their own water from other sources (desal plants etc.) I simply can't see getting rid of potential future water supplies. Sadly California's population is growing faster than it can support and someday we will need that water. Hopefully LA will never get their hands on Klamath water.

6. The removal of Irongate and irongate hatchery. Several years ago when the klamath had a major dieoff of salmon at the mouth, record numbers still made it to the irongate hatchery. Since this was a drought year it is possible that the fish in the hatchery might have a substantially higher survival rate compared to the river fish that may not have had enough water for either spawning or for the young. If Irongate dam were removed then the river would go back to unstable and dangerous flow fluctuations caused by Copco and Boyle. If all the dams are removed then there can be devestating floods and horrible drought conditions both of which can be alleviated by the dams.

7. Native American arguments. Native American tribes along the Klamath river are requesting the removal of the Dams and the Hatchery at Irongate. They say the salmon are thier livelyhood. However, if the hatchery is removed and the Native Americans are allowed to Gil net there will be no salmon left in this river system at all. Gil Netting does far more damage to the salmon than water quality. I would like to see Native Americans who are opposed to Gil Netting support this site.

I will be adding more info to this site soon. If you have questions or comments please feel free to send them to me.
Please check this site for frequent updates as I get them. There will be no email lists or mass mailings sent from this site. Thank you.


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