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KHSA Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement

by Dr Richard Gierak, Yreka, 1/30/11

The primary premise for removing four dams on the Klamath River is to restore Salmon Fisheries. In 2002 there was a serious fish kill in the lower Klamath River that was attributed to toxic algae from the reservoirs above the dams. A Center For Disease Control study was initiated and the waters in the reservoirs were deemed non-toxic. It is of interest to note that Fish & Game did not sample the waters during the fish kill, but, waited over a week before sampling. Del Norte, Humboldt and Siskiyou County Sheriffs Departments in addition to the California Conservation Corps believed that the kill was caused by a methamphetamine dump into a stream which emptied into the Klamath.

As a result the Coho Salmon were listed as endangered by the California Fish & Game and have instituted a plethora of regulations on the Klamath River in direct violation of the Magnusson Stevens Act and the Sustainable Fisheries Act. They are proposing fish ladders, TMDL regulations, algae control and a variety of other meaningless regulations. It is a well known fact that the waters in the Klamath River have the largest amount of algae as it leaves Klamath Falls and that as the waters move downstream they become cleaner as a result of the reservoirs allowing sediments to settle out. Under the Dormant Commerce Clause no State can impose regulatory actions on Waterways that are considered navigable or harbor commercial fisheries. Due to a loophole that was initiated in a lawsuit filed in 1970 is the premise for these actions.

Not only will these actions not restore salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest but Fish & Game cannot document that Coho Salmon were ever native to the Klamath River. Plantings were made in the Klamath in 1895, 1899, the 1960’s and the 1980’s according to historical records. As a scientist I would classify these failed plantings as a failed experiment and that you cannot list a species that was never native to the River.

Should this KHSA proposal continue to move forward it would devastate property owners and subject those downriver of the dams to suffer inundating floods when you consider that Iron Gate Dam was specifically built to ameliorate the floods downriver by giving residents a 90 minute evacuation buffer in the event of a serious flood. This in addition to the fact that power rates will skyrocket and that Pacific Corps is pursuing “clean coal plants” to replace the most environmentally clean, green energy production. With the advent of electric cars we need more power, not less.

The true cause of Salmon decline in California, Oregon and Washington are as a result of a historic rise in temperature of the Pacific Ocean driving these cold water fish North into Alaska. In 1950 the total catch of Salmon in the Pacific Northwest was 149,000 metric tons with 80% caught in Alaskan waters. In 2007 the total catch was 403,000 metric tons with 97% caught in Alaskan waters. This alone verifies that the intervention of man with dams and hatcheries has been a successful endeavor with a 273% increase in Salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

For references to these statements please go to the following you tube link.


Klamath Basin Salmon

Respectfully submitted;

Dr. Richard Gierak

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