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Dam removal will be a billion-dollar boondoggle
  Despite other opinions, it will not achieve the stated desired results
  by STEVE RAPALYEA 6/23/13, Herald and News Guest Commentary

   Guest writer

     Rebuttal to the May 19 Herald and News dam removal articles:


   In my opinion, the conclusions for the results of dam removal on the Klamath River must have been made by people who hopefully have either up-to-date medical marijuana cards (as it appears they are high on something), are afraid they will be fired for coming to the conclusions science and history show or have (or hope to have) their hands in the restoration “cookie jar.”

   I can find no reliable information for pre-dam run estimates of 650,000 to 1 million fish. John O. Snyder’s (Division of Fish & Game of California Bulletin No. 34) study indicates the largest fall run was probably not over 160,000 Chinook, interpolated from cannery catches and egg counts at egg-taking stations on the Klamath and Trinity rivers. He stated the spring run probably always was relatively small, as was the Coho run. There is some doubt Coho are even   native to the Klamath system.


   In 1827, Peter Skene Ogden’s Indian guide told him the salmon could not ascend above their current position below present day Keno because of the “falls and rapids.”


   John C. Fremont’s 1844 expedition   did not mention salmon.


   Fremont’s May 6, 1849 account mentioned Indians catching salmon below present-day Klamath Falls and was told by Indians there was another fishing site at the mouth of the Williamson River. These would have to be from the spring run, although Fremont’s taxonomic ability is questionable, as evidenced by his referrals to sucker as “fine, large carp” and his mention of oak trees above Upper Klamath Lake where none live or can live.


   In the fall of 1851, George Gibbs of the Redick MeGee treaty expedition describes in his journal salmon having a diseased and unhealthy appearance 30 miles above the confluence with the   Trinity and describes the Klamath River as “never losing the taint of its origin.” From 1871-1872, when Stephen Powers visited the Modoc Tribe, he was told “they do not have salmon because they do not come above Lower Klamath Lake.”


   Between 1878-1901, the Indian commissioner mentioned abundance of trout and sucker, but never mentioned salmon.


   In 1908, the Klamath Falls Evening Herald said “millions of salmon” cannot reach the lake because of a rock slide in the river below Keno.


   In 1909, “Downstream from Keno, the Klamath River yielded a bounty of salmon and most families fished.”


   In the summer of 1918, the Bureau of Fisheries conducted interviews with old residents of the region in an effort to learn something of the migration of salmon — “no satisfactory opinion could be formed as to whether King Salmon entered the Williamson and smaller   tributaries of the lakes.”


   Lesley Spier, an ethnologist who studied the Klamath tribes and has a paper, “Klamath Ethnology,” at the University of California, 1930, said “The Klamath have a first sucker ceremony, no first salmon ceremony, no prayers for salmon, no salmon heart magic like that of the Yurok, no prohibitions of speaking of the salmon, as among the Wishram, and no   special relations or taboos connecting ‘turins’ with the salmon.”


   I disregarded the 1941 study because the respondents seemed coached. They had an agenda to have the dams removed, and size is not an accurate determination of species. Thirty to 80 pounds for salmon as mentioned by one person would be least likely to make it above the steep gradient to the lake, and most said these were fall-run fish, which would be least likely to get anywhere near Upper Klamath Lake because of average pre-dam, fall stream conditions.


   Why are there no pictures of racks of drying salmon as there are of sucker?


   And finally, the zoo archaeologist study. Of the 15,000 bones deposited over 6,900 years at the six middens they excavated, only 191 bones were concluded to be from anadromous fish. Only 50 of those were able to be identified to species: 41 Steelhead and nine Chinook.   No Coho bones were identified.


   The Upper Klamath Lake has always been described, both before and after the dams, as having algae-laden, foul water due to naturally occurring phosphorous levels. How anyone can conclude 40 percent of the current phosphorous is now man-made is beyond me.


   In conclusion, I believe dam removal will be a billion-dollar, infrastructuredestroying boondoggle that will not achieve the stated desired results.



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