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Liz, column writer for Siskiyou Daily News, addresses
State Water Resources Control Board regarding corrections and and draft Environmental Impact Report concerning potential Klamath Dam destruction


Liz Writes Life


by Liz Bowen, Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA 1/29/19


Ok, I will get right to it. Tim Moran, the public information officer for the State Water Resources Control Board, sent a letter to Siskiyou Daily News Editor, Skye Kincade, asking for corrections regarding my “Liz Writes Life” column published in the Jan. 22, 2019 edition of the SDN. Skye sent the letter to me and I agree that I got a few things wrong.


Here are my corrections.


I did indeed claim that the recently released draft Environmental Impact Report regarding the potential removal of the four Klamath hydro-electric dams was written by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. That is wrong. It is that regional board’s umbrella agency, who wrote the draft EIR. That agency’s name is State Water Resources Control Board.


There are nine regional water quality control boards (with staff), in California, which according to the State Water Resources Control Board’s website brochure says -- are “working together to protect California’s water resources.” So, in simple terms, these are different size apples in the same bin. But, I did give credit to the wrong agency. I apologize. I usually do question the differences in the water agencies and try to get it right.


When reading the next long paragraph in Tim Moran’s letter, it seems he disagreed with several words that I used. Those are “announced” and “support.” I agree that I did not wordsmith well. The draft EIR was not announced – it was released. Also the SWRCB is supposed to show the benefits and adverse effects of a project through an EIR and should not be biased. He does not believe his agency shows “continued support” for dam removal.

Here is where I stop with my corrections. In reading much of the 68-page Executive Summary of the Lower Klamath Project – draft Environmental Impact Report, I claim most of the “Effects Found to be Beneficial” on page ES-9 to be incorrect – to the point of being biased.


These are the issues that have been argued for more than two decades. These are the issues that I feel are perpetually incorrect and create a fraudulent examination, when writing an environmental impact document.


These issues are regarding “Water Quality” and “Aquatic Resources.” I believe science shows the water temperatures will not be improved if the dams are removed; nor will the oxygen concentrations or the pH fluctuations; nor will there be a reduction of chlorophyll-a and algai toxins in the Hydroelectric Reach as stated in the Executive Summary of the draft EIR. And, the result will not be an increase in salmon populations.


This is my opinion from two decades of attending meetings, speaking and listening to experts, including Siskiyou County natural resource specialists, the grassroots group Siskiyou Co. Water Users Assoc., agricultural groups, and Dr. Paul Houser, who blew the whistle on the U.S. Dept. of Interior for using contaminated and manipulated stats regarding potential Klamath dams removal back in 2012. Dr. Houser was working for the DOI, when he noticed incorrect data was being used to make important decisions. Dr. Houser spoke in Yreka, at the fairgrounds, exposing the bias and bad science at the highest levels of government agencies. For once, those who work to save the dams and defend local water issues felt absolved from bureaucratic ridicule – if only for a little while.


I also disagree with Tim Moran on the issue of water quality certification. Yes, it is a required step in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process, but FERC has not yet released its decision, which according to my knowledge, is when the water quality certification aspect kicks-in – not before the decision.

To me, it looks like SWRCB was helping the process along by preparing a draft environmental review document “and issue appropriate conditions to address water quality issues that may result from the proposed project.” That was Mr. Moran’s statement.


Yes, Klamath River Renewal Corp. has released its “definite” plan for Klamath dams removal. But, FERC has not made a final decision on the Lower Klamath Project and FERC is the agency with authority -- not the non-profit KRRC.


I could go on with specific reasons -- like the amount of and destruction by the huge amounts of sediment behind the dams will create – but I have written about that many times.


I will admit when I am wrong and did.


Yet, I do have the right to an opinion; and it is full of 25 years of watching Siskiyou County and its people being belittled by government agencies that have been caught not following their own regulations or using incorrect data or are not willing to accept reality. Many computerized models that have been utilized regarding a variety of water issues, here in Siskiyou County, are simply not correct. And this goes back to the meetings for the TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads of sediment the state will allow in our local water ways) in the late 1990s.  The agency that held the TMDL meetings is the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. I do remember that agency’s name correctly.


Readers: My opinion may not be your opinion. Please, I beg you to at least read the 68-page Executive Summary of the SWRCB’s draft Lower Klamath Project – Environmental Impact Report. Evaluate it yourself. Just Google “Lower Klamath Project – Environmental Impact Report” and make sure the website that comes up shows the “California Water Board” logo in the top left corner. The entire 1,800-page report will be brought up. Look on the index for Executive Summary and click on it.


This is a good time to be discussing this issue, as the SWRCB is holding a public comment meeting next Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center in Yreka regarding its draft Environmental Impact Report. The comment period runs until Feb. 26, 2019, according to Tim Moran’s letter. Read the Executive Summary of the draft EIR first. Make your comments specific, even if you are not a scientist. Many people who are in favor of removing the dams are not scientists -- either. We have a right to our voice – to voice opinions, and to cite specific facts and tout reality.

Those that will have to deal with the loss of the reservoirs behind the three dams in Siskiyou County have a right to relate facts from other dams, where homes and property have lost value or been damaged when dams have been removed. This is not antidotal information or supposition or hypothesis. The (new) information from Oregon and Washington states’ destruction of dams is now factual and has not created the benefits that were once touted. Yes, the reality is an after-the-fact big environmental mess!


To read my Jan. 22, 2019 “Liz Writes Life”, Tim Moran’s letter and other information regarding the draft EIR, go to my blog at: LizWritesLife.blogspot.com.


Oh, I did get the steer manure on the rhubarb. Yay!


Liz Bowen began writing ranch and farm news, published in newspapers, in 1976. She is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.



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