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Tribes look for governor's support for removal of dams

The Times-Standard 3/13/05

SACRAMENTO -- More than 300 members of four tribes began to arrive Saturday for the eighth International Day of Action for Rivers that begins on Monday.

Representatives of the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Klamath tribes will rally at the state capitol, urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators to approve dam removal and restoration of the Klamath River's salmon fisheries.

Hundreds of fishermen, human rights advocates and conservationists will be on hand to support the tribes.

"We are hoping to get the governor's support in the relicensing for dam removal options and fish habitat restoration policies in the Upper Basin as well as the Iron Gate and above stretch in California," said Bill Olson, a spokesman for the Yurok Tribe, the most populous tribe in the state.

The International Day of Action for Rivers event in Sacramento is one of dozens being held throughout the world to bring awareness to the negative impacts the dams, diversions and water pollution create for communities dependent on healthy rivers, said Olson.

At one time, the Klamath was the third most productive salmonid river in the country, producing as many as 1.2 million adult salmon a year. The figure is about a tenth of that today following years of dam building, diversions and logging in the watershed.

The Klamath River dams, a six-dam complex, are undergoing a relicensing process by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Last summer, the tribes visited Scottish Power, a multinational energy company located in Glasgow, Scotland, to build support for dam removal and salmon restoration on the Klamath.

This year, they are focusing their attention on state legislators in California and Oregon.

Groups marching in support of the tribes include Friends of the River, international Rivers Network and the Pacific Federation of Fishermen and Associates.

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