Proposal would put chinook in local waters
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Roger Smith expects salmon to be knocking at the head gates to the Upper Klamath Basin in the near future, and he is ready for them.
Smith drafted a proposal to reintroduce chinook salmon to the Upper Klamath Lake and its tributaries, and will present it to the public today.
The proposal calls for allowing fish to reestablish themselves below the lake at Spencer Creek, Smith said. However, recolonization above the lake could take longer, so ODFW wants to jumpstart that by reintroducing chinook into the lake and its tributaries.
Smith will present the plan, an amendment to the 1997 Klamath River Basin Fish Management Plan, on May 9 to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission.
If approved, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife would draft an implementation plan. While investigation and research could take longer, Smith said the plan would likely take one to two years to develop.
Implementing a fish reintroduction has to wait until passage is available, and must wait until PacifiCorpís completes relicensing negotiations with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for four hydroelectric dams southof Upper Klamath Lake ó Copco I, Copco II, Iron Gate Dam and J.C. Boyle.
Under new federal mandates, providing passage for migrating fish like salmon and steelhead trout is required as part of dam relicensing.
Such passage would allow these fish to make annual migrations to and from the ocean to spawning grounds in the lake and its tributaries, including the Williamson, Sprague and Wood rivers.