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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Except this one swims
By Leo W. Kivela, Siskiyou Daily News 10/21/10
Dear Editor,

Finally I am compelled to write. I have been reading the various positions on the Klamath dam removal issue since its inception. And I have a few questions that remain unanswered.
The first one is: the KBRA states the agricultural users are going to get the water they need, fish are going to have the water they need, virtually all the water users are going to be satisfied. Where is this additional water going to come from? There is presently not enough water in the Klamath River system to provide the assorted needs, yet removing the four dams is going to solve this. How? I fail to see how removing these dams is going to add one drop of water to the system.

Next is Dr. Gallo’s report that indicates, by your item in the paper recently, this is going to be of financial benefit to Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou and Klamath counties. While I won’t deny there will be the jobs created (although they will be short-term jobs, they are jobs), I have to question the validity of the alleged long-term benefits to the coastal counties to be created by the increased fish runs.

We have over the years had the life cycle of the salmon repeated until we can, or at least I can, repeat it by rote. So, here it comes again; please bear with me: the eggs hatch, the young salmon (parrs) swim down the river to the mouth, they become acclimated to the salt water, then enter the ocean, spend four or five years there, then return to the river they came from. The process then reverses; they become acclimated to fresh water, swim upstream to their place of birth, spawn, then die. This process is apparently imprinted in them at birth. It is instinctual, they simply can do nothing else.

They – provided they are able – will return to their place of birth to spawn, or die trying. So, we now have a process that is broken and the dam removal is going to repair that.

As near as I can determine, the process is broken in the ocean. The fish are born, swim down the river, enter the ocean, then very few come back. Less every year (except in the years ocean fishing is restricted; in these years runs increase).

Now according to the reports printed in your paper, the dam removal is going to fix this. HUH?

OK, I want someone to explain this to me in a way that makes sense. How do fish that no longer exist care what condition the river they were born in is in? That has to be the only reason they do not come back to spawn. They have no choice. They are no longer there. So, we fix the problem by repairing the next step in the process – we improve water quality and river conditions for fish that no longer exist. This is insanity!

So, apparently what we have here is the spotted owl all over again. Except this one swims.

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