Three strikes against removing Klamath dams
First of all, let me say what has been said by many before me. Our forefathers had reasons to put dams on the Klamath River. They were put in to prevent flooding that most of us have only seen on the 6 o'clock news. All of the news footage shows what happens to homes, farms and ranches on the mighty Mississippi River. Scenes of cows on rooftops, dogs and cats in trees, and water rushing through the second floor of a two-story home. That is a lot of money going down the river, and our ancestors saw that this could be prevented by installing dams to control it.
The electric power was almost an afterthought. Like icing on the cake. We have the dams now, so let's see if we can make any money from them. So they are producing power. Isn't this a win-win situation for all of us?
I don't want to hear about the poor salmon until you can tell me that the tribal Indians have agreed to remove their nets from the mouth of the Klamath River. Isn't this where it all starts - at the mouth of the river? If the salmon are not able to enter the river, then they can't very well get up the river. If they can't get in the river, then mining, pollution and dams are moot points. Maybe the Indians know that the only salmon worth eating are caught before they get a chance to come up the polluted river. I wouldn't eat any fish caught in the Klamath River. Would you? Strike one.
I am very sorry for the people who now have waterfront property around the dams and are in danger of losing it. Siskiyou County will take another hit if the property declines in value due to dam removal. That will mean a lot less tax money coming into the budget. I strongly advise these property owners to go en masse to a supervisors meeting and ask how much their taxes are going to be reduced if the dams are taken out. Who is going to pay their outrageous flood insurance rates when the dams are removed? Strike two.
Next, we have the owners of homes away from the dams and even in Hornbrook and the Klamath River Estates. In case of fires, and there will always be fires, where are the helicopters going to fill their buckets? Strike three.
Yes, we need to clean up the river, but that is another letter to be written at a later time. Pacific Power has agreed to put in fish ladders, and someone else thinks we should haul the salmon around the dams and drop them in the lakes. That idea leaves a lot to be desired, but if that is what it takes to keep the dams in place, then so be it.
Just leave the dams where they are.
Margo L. Perryman lives in Edgewood.