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March 5, 2020

Skye Kinkaid
Siskiyou Daily News
Re: Siskiyou Daily News Article Feb. 19, 2020

              “Fish Passage” SCWUA response to KRRC Meurer

 (by SCWUA/Siskiyou County Water Users Association to KRRC / Klamath River Renewal Corporation/dam removal group March 5, 2020

FOLLOWED BY: KRRC says fish passage system ‘doesn’t address’ other dam problems

The last two paragraphs of the article set forth the real problem here for the community and the region as Mr. Meurer clearly states that KRRC is not interested in reviewing any other ideas or looking at issues which may alleviate the proposal to remove the hydroelectric facilities even though such removal of the may be detrimental, in fact, extremely damaging to Siskiyou County and its citizens.  Mr. Meurer is a part of the Matt Cox communications team formerly with Senator Ted Gaines “public relations” department.  The goal of KRRC he states is “to simply implement the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement” as amended.  They are not there to look at alternatives to dam removal.   He is right; their job is unwaveringly to destroy the Dams for money and everything that goes with it.  What’s wrong with this picture?  The agreement he references (the amended KHSA 2016) certainly is questionable legally, as it flies in the face of the Compact clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The largest, potentially most damaging, Dam Removal project in the history of the world and KRRC is locked into removal and “dam the circumstances and results”.  Yet, KRRC carries on with a farce of trying to show the public that they are interested in what the public has to say.  A farce, which has spent upwards of Forty Million Dollars ($40,000,000) of taxpayer funds already to carry out their efforts.  They make visits to various groups, and to Boards of Supervisors in the several impacted Counties in both California and Oregon.  They pretend to be concerned and looking for solutions.  But as Mr. Meurer, so ineloquently states, The States of Oregon and California do not want any fish passage that isn’t natural and in fact they are committed regardless of circumstances and potential biological damage to the destruction of the Klamath Dams in as what can best be described as a fervent “religious like” movement to “free the rivers”.

Siskiyou County Water Users (SCWUA) in an attempt to bring some positive quality to the issue of fish movement beyond the dams has suggested numerous ways this could be done from the recently viewed Whooshh Technologies Salmon mover, to earlier ideas of the Shasta by- pass tunnel, trap and haul, and most recently the hydraulic fish conveyor system.  All of these ideas are intended to provide a method for moving the Salmon past the dams.  The point is that the survival of the Salmon is questionable at best as the Klamath is an upside down temperature-gradient river.  It is not only foreseeable but a most likely scenario that the Salmon will not survive the upper Klamath warm waters as well as the natural predators that exist there.  It is only common sense that there should be an experiment, as to the question of Salmon survival, before tearing down the productive carbon free Klamath Dams which provide so many beneficial qualities to Siskiyou County and to the downriver human and animal populations which will be adversely affected with Dam Removal.  Some of these benefits include providing incomparable views, a “sink” for sediments helping to clean the river, fire protection, a marginal flood control capability, a method to meet the court mandated “flow criteria”, opportunity to flush the river, a lake recreation area amongst others.   Yet as many times as we have suggested that there be more studies done on this issue they are rejected out of hand because of this dogged and fervent desire to remove the Dams “at any cost” and let the sediment take its course plugging up the redds along the way and eventually being deposited in the estuary at the mouth of the Klamath destroying the shellfish population there.  The process alone raises grave issues for the “Wild and Scenic Designation of the Klamath.  The potential for a biological disaster is omnipresent in this ill-conceived removal of the Klamath Hydro Dams.

Mr. Meurer refers to the blue green algae problem.  What we know for sure about the algae issue is that it is endemic to the river because of the upper Klamath issues relative to the bird flyway, volcanic soils, and other natural and man- made causes.  The Klamath since time immemorial has been plagued by algae and by floods and draught.  This has been attested to as early as the 1850’s when expeditions to the area reported on the poor condition of the Klamath River.  This condition has been further attested to in the 1990 publication by the Department of the Interior which addresses the poor water quality condition which identifies Upper Klamath Lake as a source of nonpoint pollution as Klamath Lake as a hyper-eutrophic lake in section 2 page 42 of that study.  This raises another issue which has not adequately been discussed and that is the water quality coming into California from Oregon.  This issue was raised some years ago by Grace Bennett then Chairperson of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.  The solution to the water quality issues rests with the State of Oregon and theoretically should have been raised by the California Representative to the Klamath Compact Commission (created in 1957) which was made responsible by Act of Congress to settle these types of issues which could be resolved by installing proper filtration of the Klamath prior to entering into California.   These are issues which should be open to discussion through the Compact Commission but which have been neglected for decades.  The KRRC and the various NGO’s and States of California and Oregon have chosen to ignore “real solutions” to the Salmon and water quality in favor of “politically orchestrated “solutions papered with funding from “surcharges” of the ratepayers and funds from taxpayers duped into approving Prop One in California, thinking they were approving methods to increase supplies of water not decrease them.

The real solution to the issues at hand is to retain the hydro facilities and to improve the damage done in the “1964 floods” (increasing the capacity of existing “redds”) to the Klamath River and find other solutions to water quality coming from Oregon.  This river damage included severely impairing the hydrography of the Klamath River. Let’s hope that sanity will prevail at some point to provide economically doable solutions.

Siskiyou County Water Users Assoc.

Richard Marshall

Robert Rice
Science Advisor

----------------------- ------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------

KRRC says fish passage system ‘doesn’t address’ other dam problems


The Klamath River Renewal Corporation – the nonprofit organization responsible for decommissioning the dams – stated that a fish passage solution fails to address other issues that led to the dam removal decision.

Though the process leading to removal of the Klamath Dams continues to march forward, numerous citizens in Siskiyou County have continued fighting to keep them in place. Many dam advocates are members of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, which in January hosted a presentation about an alternative fish passage technology the association believes could “make it possible” for the dams to remain. But the Klamath River Renewal Corporation – the nonprofit organization responsible for decommissioning the dams – stated that a fish passage solution fails to address other issues that led to the dam removal decision.

Steve Dearden, vice president of sales with Whooshh Innovations, a company based in Washington that invented the viral sensation “Salmon Cannon,” traveled to Hornbrook Jan. 30 to make a presentation about Whooshh’s selective fish passage system. The company has deployed the system at the Chief Joseph and Cle Elum dams in Washington and has reported success with both projects.

During the third day of the Cle Elum Dam pilot project, Dearden said, Whooshh’s selective fish passage system was shown to be “statistically equivalent” to the trap and haul method of fish transport.

Whooshh’s selective fish passage is a modular system that begins with a passage portal that directs fish to a steep pass and then into a false weir. The false weir assures the fish enter one after another while using minimal water. The fish are then sent through long transport tubes which are soft, flexible and slippery.

A computerized recognition system takes 18 high definition images of every fish from three different directions. The images are analyzed to collect data on the fish, including count, length, girth, species and fin clips to ensure autonomous sorting. The fish are sorted to determine which will move past the dam and which will be returned to where they started.

Dearden emphasized that the technology does not harm or kill any fish. It takes just seconds or minutes for a fish to be transported past a dam, versus the hours or days it takes for the fish to complete the task on its own. And Whooshh’s system costs just 10 to 30 percent of a traditional fish passage option, he said.

Dearden confirmed during his presentation that only SCWUA had reached out to Whooshh regarding providing an alternative to removal of the Klamath dams. Multiple attendees voiced resentment toward the KRRC for not exploring whether employing Whooshh technology could mean keeping the dams in place.

But KRRC Community Liaison Dave Meurer said Monday it isn’t that simple. California’s legislature and governor have entered into the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement with PacifiCorp – the company that owns the dams – to have the dams removed and the Klamath River returned “to its natural state,” Meurer said. The KHSA includes dam removal but does not include alternatives, he said.

In total, 23 parties have entered into the dam removal agreement, including the State of Oregon and numerous conservation, fishing and tribal entities, Meurer noted.

He added, “Just changing how fish get up the river, in an artificial way, doesn’t address the really severe water quality problems that are behind the dams.” He referred to the seasonal blooms of “toxic blue-green algae” which result from the sun heating the nutrient-rich water behind the dams.

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has posted public health advisory notices about the algae, stating that “some are capable of releasing toxins that are potentially harmful to human health.”

The California legislature has appropriated up to $250 million to carry out dam removal, which it believes will lead to a free-flowing Klamath River and improved water quality. The states of California and Oregon do not want artificial fish passage on the river, regardless of what form it takes, Meurer said.

The KRRC exists simply to implement the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. “We do not examine alternatives to the agreement,” Meurer said.

For more about Whooshh, go to www.whooshh.com



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