Yreka, Calif. — Wednesday evening, members of the public traveled to the Yreka Community Center to voice concerns and make recommendations on the scope of studies to be conducted to inform a decision as to whether four dams along the Klamath River will be removed under two multi-party agreements.
The public scoping session, as described by Dennis Lynch, program manager for the Klamath Basin Secretarial Determination, had as an objective getting “input to help us determine the scope and significant issues for environmental review.”
Up first at the meeting were supervisors Grace Bennett and Marcia Armstrong, who listed a number of concerns they would like addressed by the environmental review team, many of which were echoed later by members of the public.
Bennett and Armstrong recommended that the team include in the scope study of invasive plant species’ growth into drained reservoir areas, fish species currently inhabiting the reservoirs, the effects of increased energy costs, the effects on nearby wells, effects on terrestrial and airborne animal species, cumulative impacts on the human population of the county, effects on the aging population and various economic and social impacts.
County Counsel Thomas Guarino was also at the meeting, presenting a large stack of documents compiled in recent months by county staff and the Klamath task force, which was formed to research and provide information for the public scoping and environmental review processes.
Guarino touched on a number of county requests, including analysis of impacts of state programs and how implementation of those programs may alter water issues in the coming years, review of impacts to small communities with weak economies and review of Siskiyou County codes and the county general plan in assessing how the project should move forward.
Many of the public concerns mirrored those at the morning meeting in the community of Copco, with requests that sediment, flow requirements for salmon and the potential for flood control.
Other suggestions for study scope included assessing how actions proscribed in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement would move forward if the agreement were underfunded, potential negative impacts of not removing the dams and the potential economic benefits of taking the dams out.
Also presented were potential alternatives to dam removal, which must be explored during environmental review, including the installation of fish ladders, the creation of a fish bypass and enforcing a straight corridor through gill nets near the mouth of the Klamath.
The Web site http://klamathrestoration.gov lists the locations and times for the remaining public scoping meetings, as well as information on how to submit written comments, which must be done by July 21.