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Dam removal leaves need for new recreation sites

Comment period extended for recreation sites--see (way) below

Existing recreation facilities along Klamath River


Comments to date on new recreation sites

The Klamath River Renewal Corp., the nonprofit charged with coordinating the removal for four hydro-electric dams on the Klamath River, is seeking public comment on new recreation sites along the river — after the dams are out.

The KRRC notes that reservoirs such as Topsy, behind the J.C. Boyle dam, will become a river, as will the Copco Reservoir, once water levels are lowered.

That will leave current recreation sites high and dry, but create more opportunity for riverside sites. The KRRC is seeking comments by Wednesday, May 30, on site proposals, but more comments will likely be taken after a draft plan is written. The comments will be rolled into a larger document to be present to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this summer.


Some of the land that is now under reservoir water owned by PacifiCorp — the utility that owns the dams — will be turned over to the states and may, in turn, be handed over to the counties for development of recreation sites and boat launches.

Anna Murveit, KRRC outreach and communication official, and others are having Skype calls with tourism officials, tribal members and recreational outfitters who use the river, soliciting comments on what to do with the land that will be left after the reservoirs are drained.

“We want to hear their ideas on what would be the best locations for boat launches, take out spots and campgrounds among other things,” Murveit said. “We want to prioritize those sites and draw up selection criteria.”

The KRRC recreation group is to submit its draft plan by July 1.

All of this is dependent on FERC approving the license transfer of the four dams from PacifiCorp to the renewal corporation and then the decommissioning of the dams for removal. It’s part of the 2016 Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Funding for the project comes from PacifiCorp customer surcharge which totals $200 million, plus California Proposition 1 which has set aside $250 million. The timeline calls for decommissioning to start in 2020 at the earliest.

“The news of the day is that KRRC hopes to contract with local firms to do: Native seed collection; invasive exotic vegetation eradication; development of vegetation test plots; nursery plant propagation and groundwater monitoring,” Murveit said.

“These opportunities are for firms to contract with KRRC, not direct hires through the KRRC. We are working on information to share on these RFPs (requests for proposals) and may have it in the next couple of weeks.”


Cost estimates are being developed and will be part of the July 1 plan submission.

“We’re trying to ensure as many local jobs go to the local communities,” she said.

Early last week, KRRC held a Skype call with Discover Klamath, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce and Siskiyou County economic development leaders on recreational site locations. (A list of current and proposed sites and amenities is posted in PDF format on the Herald and News website alongside this story).

Officials noted that while the counties have a master plan for tourism, it is too early speculate what recreational sites might prove best once the water is drawn down.

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Questions on the drawdown

1. How much funding will KRRC have to remove, improve, and add recreation?

Planning estimates are being developed and will become public in July 2018 through our Definite Plan submittal.

2. Will white water rafting be a thing of the past? With J.C. Boyle removal, will there be no more whitewater on the Klamath and how are outfitters reacting?

No, we expect that whitewater rafting will continue. KRRC's recreation plan will consider both additional access to new areas that are currently slack water in the hydroelectric reach and/or enhanced existing sites areas that are currently utilized by whitewater outfitters.

The main change is that J.C. Boyle hydroelectric pulse flows currently provide year-round flows suitable for white water in the Hells Corner reach, the most popular run in the area for outfitters and their clients.

When J.C. Boyle is removed, flows will be controlled upstream by Link River Dam and there will no longer be daily hydroelectric pulse flows. Rafting outfitters have emphasized that they are in full support of a healthier Klamath River system, but are concerned about impacts to their business during construction and after removal of J.C. Boyle Dam.

3. Can you further explain the A and B land designations, i.e. what will become private or remain so, what will PacifiCorp give up for public access. Is there a number of acres we're looking at?

Parcel A lands will remain with PacifiCorp because these parcels are not directly related to the hydroelectric facilities to be transferred to KRRC (J.C. Boyle, Copco 1&2, and Iron Gate). Parcel B lands are directly related to these four hydroelectric facilities. According to the 2016 Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, Parcel B lands are to be transferred through KRRC to the states or other entities they designate and are intended for the public interest. There are over 8,000 acres of Parcel B land.

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Comment period extended for recreation sites

The comment period to the KRRC on newly created recreation sites once the Klamath River dams are out and the reservoirs lowered has been extended to June 15.

The deadline was initially Wednesday. Anna Murveit, spokesperson for the KRRC, said that stakeholders requested more time to suggest new recreation sites once the dams are removed and the reservoirs are no more.

“We want to hear their ideas on what would be the best locations for boat launches, take out spots and campgrounds among other things,” Murveit said. “We want to prioritize those sites and draw up selection criteria.”

The KRRC recreation group is to submit its draft plan by July 1. For more details, see the story in Tuesday's H&N or online at : https://bit.ly/2xoELBQ

To comment, send remarks to: Chris Park, KRRC Technical Representative Team at parkce@cdmsmith.com or download the feedback form here: https://bit.ly/2shHIiG



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