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USBR awards contract for dam removal studies
International Water Power and Dam Construction
12 February 2010

The US Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a US$843,000 contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to Research Triangle Institute to support scientific investigations to evaluate the economic potential for advancing fisheries restoration by removing four dams, and whether it is in the public interest to do so. The dams are located on the Klamath River in California and Southern Oregon.

A broad stakeholder collaborative effort has been underway for several years to address long-standing disputes over scarce water resources and fisheries restoration in the Klamath Basin. Negotiations of two agreements, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement, are nearing completion to further the resolution of disputes between conservationists, tribes, farmers, fishermen and state and federal agencies.

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement will improve conditions for fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act that may be affected by the Klamath Project including threatened Coho salmon, and endangered Lost River sucker and shortnose suckers.

The Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement calls for the analysis of whether it is in the public interest to remove four hydro power dams on the Klamath River. This analysis requires a full assessment of the economic effects of dam removal. This assessment will focus on local, regional, and national economic benefits and impacts. The comprehensive economic analysis of dam removal will study impacts to downstream and other affected communities, including the loss of tax revenues and jobs, changes to the value of regional and local commercial fisheries, other businesses, and national economic values attached to environmental changes associated with dam removal.

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