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DEQ accepts public comments on dam removal ( EXTENDED to July 23 https://www.oregon.gov/deq/get-involved/documents/070618Klamathpn.pdf  )
followed by Response from Senator Linthicum 

Removal of John C. Boyle Dam will have short-term environmental impacts, according to officials at Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, but the agency sees long-term benefits, pending approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality hosted two question and answer sessions and public comment hearings at Oregon Tech Tuesday to gather input on the environmental impact of the decommissioning and removal of the dam, one of four planned for removal along the Klamath River.

DEQ has prepared its draft certification in response to a request by the Klamath River Rewewal Corporation, a nonprofit contractor based in the Bay Area tasked with facilitating removal of the dams, which also includes Copco 1 and 2, and Iron Gate Dam.

The DEQ has also prescribed conditions necessary for the project to meet state standards, such as a water quality management and draw-down plans. In addition, the project as proposed meets DEQ’s rules adopted in 2012 regarding dam removal.

“DEQ understands that dam removal will temporarily lower water quality,” said Chris Stine, hydroelectric specialist for Oregon’s DEQ, and 401 project manager for the J.C. Boyle Dam project.

J.C. Boyle Dam stores about 1 million cubic yards of sediment behind the dam, according to DEQ. Depending on water flows during the drawdown years, between 40 and 60 percent of the sediment will move downstream. Sediment is expected to flow quickly since the material is so soft.

“The drawdown of the reservoir is expected to take two months during which suspended sediment loads will be high, which may also temporarily affect other parameters including dissolved oxygen,” Stine said. “Once drawdown is complete, however, the effects of dam removal will decrease rapidly as sediment loads are reduced and downstream water quality begins to reflect incoming conditions.”

DEQ has established a timetable of 24 months after which the effects of the project are not expected to exceed water quality standards.

Klamath River Renewal Corporation or its contractors are required to monitor a number of factors, including pH and temperature at three sites, and to report findings to DEQ.

The agency also has plans to remove and relocate endangered Lost River and short-nosed sucker to off-channel habitats, according to Stine.

A handful of people at the first hearing, which drew about 25 to 30 attendees, shared comments or gave an on-the-record statements, including Richard Marshall, president of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, and Glen Spain, northwest regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

Questions posed ranged from further explanation about the drawdown of water from the dam, to movement of sediment, to financial security of the project.

After the comment period, DEQ will issue two documents. The first will be an evaluation of findings on the proposed dam removal and the potential effect on water quality. The second will contain conditions DEQ will impose on the federal license for the project to meet water quality standards, Stine said.

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires a state to evaluate a proposal for any federal permit that would result in a discharge.

“Before the federal permit can be issued, the state determines whether the project will meet state water quality standards,” Stine said.

“In this case, the project requires a federal license to render order by (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) FERC,” Stine said. “It will also require an Army Corps permit and our certification addresses both of those actions in a manner that we believe is necessary for the project to meet those standards.”

DEQ plans to issue its final certification no later than Sept. 1.

“Then we’re effectively done with our evaluation to the project,” Stine said. “The conditions to the certification require a dialogue with KRRC ... I expect this will be a long period of collaboration in developing this plan.”

DEQ is accepting public comments until 5 p.m., Friday, July 6, at the following address: Chris Stine, hydroelectric specialist, 165 E. Seventh Ave., Eugene, Ore., 97401 or at www.klamath401@deq.state.or.us.


Response from Senator Linthicum:

"KBRA is defunct

But, following Gov. Brown & Brown’s desire to blow the dams, ODEQ has decided they need to have public comment on Dam Removal. So, technically, it isn’t a KBRA issue, but rather, it is a section 401 issue regarding water quality, turbidity and damage to spawning habitat that may occur due to discharges of debris and sediment held behind the structures.

Since they have labeled the water in the upper reaches (namely Upper Klamath Lake and the Reclamation projects) “severely impaired” then that poor-quality water would be washed downstream into the Klamath River system and very little of it would actually make it all the way out to the salty Pacific. Using their own scientific assessment, this is clearly a bad idea.

Now, add to that, the demolition debris and the toxic sedimentary loads and you have a real problem. There is estimated to be in excess of 20 million cubic yards of accumulated sediment behind these structures. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement did not investigate the seriousness of this potential problem, address any possible mitigation efforts or address the costs associated with these issues.

ODEQ needs to hear your voice. They need to be made aware of the potential problems and our concerns for costly overruns, damages, clean-up and/or mitigation efforts that are omitted from the feel-good narrative of dam removal promoters.

This water quality issue is not easily side-stepped because it is 20 million cubic yards of toxic sediment. That in itself is the equivalent of 2 million ten-yard dump truck loads of silt, sediment and sludge which should be removed. Is ODEQ willing to dump that into the river system? (As an aside, if your company owned 100 dump trucks it would take 20,000 round-trip excursions to remove and discharge that much debris somewhere on our pristine landscape. Wait until the “NIMBY/NOMR” voices erupt with those possibilities (Not-In-My-Back-Yard/Not-On-My-Reservation). Also, it would require 10,000 hours of excavator time on the fill-side, with who knows what on the dispersal side.)

Or, just let that debris clog the river. Then, only the existing downstream salmon fisheries will bear the burden from this harmful sludge. ODEQ needs to hear this story from all our friends and neighbors.

Removal of the dams is a bad idea because the resulting debris and sediment will wash into the river system. Plus, there won’t be any reservoirs available for flushing-flows or regulating the volume of dilution flows and the result will be degraded river conditions (low DO, increased primary productivity, elevated pH, unionized ammonia issues, increased turbidity, etc., etc.)

ODEQ needs your voice to be heard, after all, you will get stuck with the bill.

Best Regards,



Oregon District 28

(503) 986-1728



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