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How might the Klamath agreements affect the local economy?
Klamath River — Comments were gathered from the public in July regarding the scope of studies to be conducted to inform the dam removal decision under the KHSA.
A number of comments touched on the potential impacts of both leaving the dams in and taking the dams out, as well as the potential impacts on real estate, recreation and the economy in general.
Those comments have translated into the studies being conducted, according to Economics Team Leader Cindy Thomson, who described the various aspects of the studies in an e-mail Nov. 5.
By utilizing cost-benefit analyses and economic impact analyses, Thomson said, a number of teams will be assessing the potential positive and negative effects associated with activities under the KHSA and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
According to Thomson, the cost-benefit analyses will cover effects on fisheries, recreation, agriculture, foregoing hydropower, dam removal and KBRA implementation costs, real estate and non-use value of a restored Klamath River.
Thomson explained that non-use valuations are obtained by surveying individuals across the United States, both those affected and not affected, to determine how each assesses the value of restoring the river system.
The economic impact analysis, on the other hand, will assess jobs and income effects related to non-tribal fisheries, recreation, agriculture, dam removal and the KBRA, Thomson said.
“The Economics Subteam is highly dependent on the products of other Subteams to complete our analysis,” Thomson said. “For instance, dam removal costs will be provided by the Engineering Subteam, effects on fish populations by the Biological Subteam, real estate effects by the Real Estate Subteam, etc.”
The data will come from a variety of sources, Thomson said, including information from the Federal Energy Commission’s record on dam relicensing, state and other federal agencies, various economic studies and from counties, tribes and recreational outfitters.
Not all of the effects can be described in monetary terms, according to Thomson, who said that data limitations and non-quantifiable qualities will lead to some effects being analyzed without numbers, such as the assessment of impacts associated with tribal values.
In addition, Thomson said, certain impacts may have to be assessed at a regional or multiple county scale, such as labor or materials that originate outside the county where the dams are located.
While some reports have surfaced in recent years regarding costs and benefits associated with the KHSA and KBRA, nothing yet has comprehensively tied costs and benefits together.
A number of questions loom about the potential economic effects, but Thomson stated that the draft report from the economics team will likely not be released until summer or fall 2011. Included in that report, she said, will be the analytical methods used as well as the results of the teams’ work.
Page Updated: Tuesday November 16, 2010 02:32 AM Pacific
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