Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Meeting at Copco Lake
‘It’s the only thing I have to leave my kids’
By JOEL ASCHBRENNER Herald and News 12/12/10
H&N photo by Joel Aschbrenner If Copco 1 Dam is removed and
the lake is drained, Bob Davis’ now shorefront property will be a
quarter-mile away from and 95-feet above the bank of the Klamath River.
Bob Davis stands on the back porch of his shorefront house, looking out over the water. Yards below him laps the shore of Copco Lake, part of the Klamath River.
Over there, he says, pointing toward the lakes channel, that’s where the bank would be if the dam is removed.
“My lake-front property will be a quartermile from the stream,” he said.
The Copco 1 dam, a few miles downstream, would be removed as part of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, an agreement tied to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. With the dam removed, the reservoir would be drained and his home would no longer be lakeside.
Davis said he has been fighting dam removal since 2001, when he first heard PacifiCorp, the company that owns Copco 1, may have trouble relicensing four Klamath River dams and might remove them. His jacket reads, “Copco Lake Sportsman of the Year: 2006,” a title he said his neighbors gave him for speaking out against dam removal.
Decline in value
Property values around the lake are declining as dam removal becomes more likely, said county assessor Mike Mallory. Davis said his 1.3-acre property was valued at $400,000, but he now expects he could sell it for about $150,000.
“I feel very bad about that, because it’s the only thing I have to leave my kids,” he said. “We put everything into this.” Davis and his wife, Beverly, moved to Copco Lake 30 years ago from San Jose, Calif.
Copco 1 and three other dams would be removed as part of the KHSA. The agreement, which sprung from PacifiCorp’s attempt to re-license the dams, aims to restore fish habitat and water quality by several methods, chiefly dam removal.
Still, Davis does not think the dams will come out. He believes November’s election, which saw many Democratic seats taken by Republicans, could help sway state and federal support to keeping the dams. But if the dams are removed, he and his wife said they would probably stay anyway.
“People work all year long to afford a vacation for a week to a place like this,” Davis said, “and I get to be here all the time.”
Page Updated: Friday December 17, 2010 03:03 AM Pacific
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