The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider signing the final parallel agreements that call for tearing out the Klamath River's four main dams and improving conditions for fish and farms in the watershed.
The deals were negotiated for more than three years by representatives from California and Oregon, four tribes, commercial and sport fishing interests, farming communities and environmental organizations. They call for the removal of Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2 and J.C. Boyle dams, owned by Pacificorp, for restoration of salmon and other fisheries; for more water for fish; and for more certain water deliveries to irrigators in the upper basin.
The dams would be removed beginning in 2020, provided a U.S. Interior Department review by 2012 finds the project in the public interest.
Signing the documents would allow Humboldt County to be a formal participating party in implementing the agreements. Groups have until Feb. 9 to indicate whether they will participate. So far, only the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Northcoast Environmental Center have asked to be taken off the list of parties.
If it signs the deals, Humboldt County would become a voting member in coordination and oversight groups, according to a Public Works Department staff report, which would allow it to influence the process and protect its interests.
The report concludes that if the agreements aren't executed, management of the Klamath River's many contentious issues is likely to return to the courts.
”These agreements appear to be the best and most viable opportunity for resolving long-standing water and fish issues in the Klamath River basin,” the report reads.
Supervisors on Tuesday will hear the staff report, listen to public comments and decide whether to sign the final agreements. Staff is also recommending the County Administrative Office identify $3,000 in supplemental funding to support participation in the Klamath agreement coordination process in 2010.
If You Go:
What: Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting
Where: Supervisors' Chamber, first floor, Humboldt County Courthouse, 825 Fifth St.
When: 9 a.m. Tuesday