Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Each dam should be evaluated independently
Herald and News letter to the editor 2/23/10 by John Turner, Klamath Falls
Since release of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, arguments for dam removal have been bantered about including:
• Dams block salmon from the Upper Klamath Basin
• Dams heat water causing toxic algae blooms.
• It is required by the KBRA authors.
Arguments for keeping dams include:
• Water storage and flood control (lower dams).
• Generation of approximately 80 megawatts of clean power (enough for approximately 70,000 homes).
J.C. Boyle Dam should not be removed. Due to space limitations, I’ll consider this dam vs. the removal thesis.
• J.C. Boyle Dam has a working fish ladder. According to fish biologists I’ve talked to, redband trout migrate back and forth from below the dam to Spencer Creek, where they spawn. Surely salmon can utilize this ladder to migrate to the Upper Klamath Basin. The dam also provides protection for smolt migrating back to the sea with a fish screen to keep them from the generators.
• Water does not stay in the im-poundment behind J. C. Boyle Dam long enough to heat up. According to PacifiCorp studies, the water in the impoundment is replaced approximately every 1.5 days. Anybody who has put a boat on the impoundment knows it will only take an hour or two to drift from the bridge to the dam due to the constant current. Temperature measurements I’ve made close to the dam agree with those made by the U.S. Geological Survey on the Link River.
J.C. Boyle Dam generates half the power generated on the Klamath River or enough for approximately 35,000 homes (more than enough for all the homes in Klamath County). That’s clean energy!
If J.C. Boyle Dam is evaluated independently, then the only conclusion that can be made is to leave the dam. If the authors of the KBRA can’t understand that, then the KBRA should fail.
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