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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, April 6th, 2012.

PFMC Sets Ocean Salmon Seasons With Expectations Of Huge Rebounds For Sacramento, Klamath Runs

Federal gov & land grabs, Salmon and fish

PNP comment: Now so many salmon are expected that the harvest numbers have been increased. Hallelujah! — Editor Liz Bowen

PFMC Sets Ocean Salmon Seasons With Expectations Of Huge Rebounds For Sacramento, Klamath Runs

http://www.cbbulletin.com/418920.aspx

PFMC Sets Ocean Salmon Seasons With Expectations Of Huge Rebounds For Sacramento, Klamath Runs

Columbia Basin Bulletin

April 6, 2012

The Pacific Fishery Management Council on Thursday adopted a set of ocean salmon seasons for this coming summer that provides both recreational and commercial opportunities up and down the Oregon, Washington and California coasts.

California and Oregon fishermen, in particular, will be benefit from higher-than-usual salmon returns in the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers this year. The recommendation will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval by May 1.

The PFMC helps establish fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the U.S. West Coast. The Pacific Fishery Management Council is made up of 14 voting representatives from Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho; many advisory bodies; and 16 staff members located in Portland, Oregon.

Some Council members represent state or tribal fish and wildlife agencies, and some are private citizens who are knowledgeable about recreational or commercial fishing or marine conservation. Apart from state and tribal representatives, Council members are chosen by the governors of the four states within the Council region, in conjunction with the Secretary of Commerce.

For details:

http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/E7d_Council-Adopted-Salmon-Seasons.pdf

“Everyone is pleased to see such a strong abundance of the major Sacramento River and Klamath River work-horse stocks,” Council Chairman Dan Wolford said of an expected huge rebound from just 3-4 years ago when low return expectations forced fishery closures. “After achieving all the conservation goals for weak stocks in 2012, both recreational and commercial ocean salmon fishermen should enjoy a good season this summer.”

California and Oregon South of Cape Falcon, Oregon

The largest number of returning Sacramento River fall chinook since 2005 are expected to fuel ocean salmon fisheries off California and Oregon. Fisheries south of Cape Falcon, which is located near Manzanita in northern Oregon, are supported by Sacramento River fall chinook.

In 2008 and 2009, poor Sacramento returns led to the largest ocean salmon fishery closure on record. The abundance forecast of Sacramento River fall chinook in 2012 is 819,400 adult fish, far above the number needed for optimum spawning this fall (122,000-180,000 fish).

The Klamath River fall chinook forecast for 2012 is about four times greater than average and the highest forecast on record since 1985.

The Oregon Coast natural coho forecast in 2012 is about 290,000, the largest forecast since at least 1996.

Recreational fisheries in southern Oregon and California are for chinook only and run from May 1 through Sept. 9 in the Brookings/Eureka/Crescent City area, and from April 7 to at least Oct.7 in areas further south. The minimum size limit will be 24 inches in the San Francisco and Monterey areas from April 7 to July 5, but otherwise 20 inches in California.

Recreational fisheries off the central Oregon coast will allow chinook retention and run from March 15 through Oct. 31. Coho fisheries consist of a mark-selective coho quota fishery in July (open from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California border), and a non-mark selective coho quota fishery in September, open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, located just south of Port Orford on the southern Oregon coast.

Commercial fisheries from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain, Oregon will be open from April 1 through Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 through Oct. 31. Fisheries in the Humbug Mountain to California border area will be open in May, June, July, August, and September, with chinook quotas in June (2,000), July (1,500), August (1,000), and September (1,000).

Fisheries from the California border to Humboldt South Jetty will be open Sept. 15-30 with a 6,000 chinook quota.

Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (in the Fort Bragg area), commercial chinook salmon fisheries will be open July 11 through Aug. 29 and Sept. 1 to 30, seven days per week.

In the area from Point Arena to Point Sur (San Francisco), the season will be open May 1 to June 4, June 27 to Aug. 29, and Sept. 1 to 30. From Point Sur to the Mexico border, the chinook season will be open May 1 to Aug. 29 and Sept. 1 to 30. There will also be a season from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro, open Oct. 1 to 5 and 8 to 12.

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon depend largely on Columbia River stocks. Columbia River fall chinook returns in 2011 were above average, and 2012 forecasts are similar.

Columbia River hatchery coho returns are expected to be below average and less than 2011 returns, but Washington coastal and Puget Sound stocks are mostly above average. For “North of Cape Falcon,” the PFMC recommendations are for an overall non-Indian total allowable catch of 99,000 chinook and 83,000 marked hatchery coho.

A mark-selective chinook season north of Cape Falcon would begin June 9 off the Columbia River and Westport, Wash., and June 16 off Washington’s La Push and Neah Bay. This fishery ends June 22 off the Columbia River, June 23 off Westport, and June 30 off La Push and Neah Bay, or when 8,000 marked chinook are caught in all port-areas combined.

The chinook season will be open seven days per week, two fish per day, with a 24-inch total length minimum size limit.

All salmon seasons are divided into four port areas. Seasons begin June 23 off the Columbia River, June 23 off Westport and July 1 off La Push and Neah Bay. These fisheries end Sept. 30 off the Columbia River and Sept. 23 off Westport, La Push, and Neah Bay, or when chinook or coho quotas are reached. The preseason coho quota for all port areas combined is 69,720. For details, please see the season descriptions on the Council website at www.pcouncil.org.

Non-Indian ocean commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon include traditional chinook seasons in the May-June timeframe and all-salmon seasons in the July-to-September timeframe. The Chinook quotas of 31,700 in May-June and 15,800 in the all-species fisheries are about 50 percent higher than the 2011 quotas. The coho quota of 13,280 is similar to 2011’s quota of 12,800. Tribal ocean fisheries north of Cape Falcon are similar to recent years, although chinook quotas are higher than in 2011.

The Council developed the management measures after several weeks spent reviewing three season alternatives. The review process included input by federal and state fishery scientists and fishing industry members, public testimony, and three public hearings in coastal communities.

The Council received additional scientific information and took public testimony before taking final action. The decision will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval and implementation. In addition, the coastal states will decide on compatible freshwater fishery regulations at their respective state commission hearings.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries miles offshore of the U.S. coastline. The Pacific Council recommends management measures for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

This information and much more that you need to know about the ESA,
the Klamath River Basin, and private property rights can be found at The
Klamath Bucket Brigade’s web site – http://klamathbucketbrigade.org/index.html
please visit today.

No Comments

Water cutoff contributes to Klamath Basin bird deaths, highlights challenge facing crucial wildlife refuges

Air, Climate & Weather, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath River & Dams, Wildlife

Water cutoff contributes to Klamath Basin bird deaths, highlights challenge facing crucial wildlife refuges | OregonLive.com

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/04/water_cutoff_contributes_to_kl.html

Water cutoff contributes to Klamath Basin bird deaths, highlights challenge facing crucial wildlife refuges

By Scott Learn, The Oregonian

April 5, 2012

Dave Menke  Migrating snow geese have been the birds hardest

hit by the bird die-off in the Klamath Basin.

A cut-off of water supplies to a key Klamath Basin national wildlife refuge contributed to the deaths of 10,000 or more birds this year, the most in a decade, the refuge’s manager says.

The Lower Klamath refuge in southern Oregon and northern California is a crucial stop for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. The refuge and five other refuges in the basin are also last in line for water, behind farmers and endangered fish, in one of the most water-short — and politically fraught — regions in the West.

Ron Cole, project leader for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, estimates 10,000 to 15,000 birds have died from avian cholera this year.

From December to mid-March, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation cut off water supplies to the 46,900-acre Lower Klamath refuge, citing light snowfall and projections of dismal inflows to Upper Klamath Lake, which stores water for farmers and three fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The breakout began in February in the nearby Tule Lake refuge, Cole said, then spread to the Lower Klamath refuge when more birds arrived.

Reduced water cut the wetland habitat normally available by half, from 31,000 acres to 15,000, Cole said. The cutoff and low winter precipitation left the Lower Klamath refuge in the driest conditions for spring migration in 70 years, exacerbating crowding and spread of the disease.

“This year we just had fewer wetlands to begin the spring with,” Cole said. “The refuge is legally last in priority, but that doesn’t mean the wildlife needs water the least.”

More

Continuing coverage of the Klamath Basin and efforts to resolve the area’s water disputes.

Snow geese were the main species affected, Cole said, along with Ross’ and white-fronted geese and northern pintail ducks, which arrived in unusually large numbers this year. The Lower Klamath reserve is the refuge complex’s most important for migratory birds, Cole said, and is the basin’s most diverse, hosting river otters, turtles and frogs among hundreds of species.

Avian cholera strikes the refuges every year, including 2008, when some 6,000 to 8,000 birds perished, primarily tundra swans. Frozen territory to the north left them stalled in the basin as more birds piled in.

Even this year, the die-off numbers are small compared to the total birds migrating through or nesting in the basin, which peaked at 1.9 million birds in early March.

But topping 10,000 deaths translates to “a very significant die-off,” Cole said, the most the refuge complex has seen in 10 to 15 years. Normally, he said, the deaths are in the hundreds or low thousands. Refuge employees and volunteers collected and incinerated about 5,000 dead birds to thwart spread of the disease.

The die-off is also escalating the always-tense water politics in the basin.

That tension peaked a decade ago: In the drought year of 2001, fish got water instead of farmers, sparking outrage nationwide. In 2002, with help from Vice President Dick Cheney, farmers got more water, but fish died en masse in the Klamath River.

A 2010 Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement signed by more than 30 groups pledged to resolve the water dispute, in part by promising a higher priority for the refuges and potentially more water. But the agreement is hung up in Congress.

It requires Congress to spend $536 million over 15 years when the focus is on deficit reduction. It’s also tied to a second deal to remove four PacifiCorp dams along the Klamath River in 2020, and dam removal is unpopular with many Republican members.

Last month, 26 conservation groups asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to make sure the refuges receive enough water this year for birds and for sucker fish. The Tule Lake refuge was shorted water in 2010, with Tule Lake saved from being drained below minimum levels only by irrigation overflows, the groups noted.

The Klamath Basin once held more than 350,000 acres of wetlands, but roughly three-quarters of the marshes were drained for farmland when the Bureau of Reclamation embarked on its Klamath project in the early 1900s.

“In some ways the dirty little secret of these Klamath Basin has been the fate of these refuges, the most important waterfowl habitat on the Pacific Flyway,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild. “We had hoped for better from the Obama Administration, but we really haven’t seen it. Wildlife needs are still really an afterthought.”

But the allocation is trickier than ever, given demands for water for farmers and newer demands for threatened coho salmon in the Klamath River and for two threatened species of sucker fish in the basin.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on Reclamation plans to lower Tule Lake in 2010, a relatively dry year. The agency hopes to keep the lake above minimum levels this year, said Laurie Sada, field supervisor for the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office.

“But the bottom line is (the refuges) don’t have a water right,” Sada said. “Congress has to deal with that, and in the meantime everybody’s going to do the best they can to meet the needs for wildlife.”

With snow levels improving, the Bureau of Reclamation restored water flow to the Lower Klamath refuge on March 17, shipping roughly 5,000 acre-feet of water since then through the Ady Canal that feeds the refuge. The Bureau didn’t hear about the die-off until then, Reclamation spokesman Kevin Moore said.

“When we learned of the problem with the birds, we began pushing as much water through as that canal could handle,” he said.

Snowpack in the basin now stands slightly above average, well up from the 60 percent or so of average before the March’s plentiful storms began. Bird deaths are petering out.

But the outlook is still dicey for summer and early fall, when the next wave of migrating birds arrives.

A mild winter left the ground relatively dry, and that could cut snowmelt runoff into lakes and streams. A big “rain-on-snow” event could also melt too much of the snow in the spring, before summertime demands peak.

“The basin, Sada said, “always delivers things you don’t expect.”

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ESA partially to blame for bird kill at refuges

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, Klamath River & Dams, Op-ed

PNP comment: Single management of an Endangered Species is not good for the species or the surrounding animals. In the lower refuges, water amounts are part of the farmers Klamath Project irrigation. So both the farms and the refuges work and live very well together. It is the conflicting Tribes, Greenies and government agencies that cause the problems. — Editor Liz Bowen

http://pioneer.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HeraldandNews/

ESA partially to blame for bird kill at refuges   

Herald and News

Letter to the Editor

April 6, 2012

   I found a major point to be missing in the recent articles on the avian cholera outbreak on the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge.

   A major contributor is that part of the refuge was not flooded, forcing all the birds into a more concentrated area where disease spreads more rapidly. This is directly caused by the Endangered Species Act, requiring an unrealistic amount of water being held in the lake for sucker and salmon fish populations.

   The ESA needs to be changed so that communities, the economy and other wildlife populations are given consideration as well, instead of being left to die.

   Debbie Kliewer

   Klamath Falls

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Former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond turns himself in

Sham Science, Tribes, Yurok Tribe

Former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond turns himself in – Times-Standard Online

http://www.times-standard.com/alerts/ci_20335560/former-yurok-tribe-forestry-director-roland-raymond-turns

Former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond turns himself in

The Times-Standard

April 5, 2012

Former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond, 49, was booked into the Del Norte County jail this morning at 9:30 a.m. after turning himself in to authorities, according to the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office.

Raymond had been on the run since Feb. 23, when authorities served search warrants at his home on the 2200 block of Hillcrest Avenue just outside Eureka city limits. A $1 million warrant for Raymond’s arrest was issued, alleging he committed crimes of burglary, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a crime.

It’s alleged that Raymond and his two co-conspirators used an elaborate system of fake invoices, false purchase requests and electronic bank transfers to embezzle more than $870,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe during a three-year period of wildlife preservation studies. Raymond is suspected of embezzling additional funds from the tribe through other false purchase requests, putting the embezzlement total in the $1 million range.

Mad River Biologists’ senior biologist Ron LeValley, 65, and associate biologist Sean McAllister, 45, have already been arraigned in the case on charges of embezzlement, grant theft and conspiracy.

Raymond was arraigned at 1:15 p.m. today, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges stated in the warrant for his arrest. During the discussion of bail, Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander cited the fact that Raymond was the chief person in the conspiracy and had been at large since late February. Alexander asked the court for and received a $1 million bail amount on Raymond.

Alexander said the Del Norte District Attorney’s Office has been in communication with the Department of the Interior, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding their possible trial of the case in federal court.

”Given the majority, if not total amount of embezzled funds being federal, we were glad to assist our colleagues in the federal government with our investigation, arrests and criminal charging,” Alexander said in a statement.

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Need for land in Klamath Basin to be idled is unknown — water rationing issue

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Federal gov & land grabs, Klamath River & Dams

http://pioneer.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HeraldandNews/

Need for land idling unknown  

By JOEL ASCHBRENNER

H&N Staff Reporter

April 5, 2012

    About 260 Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators have applied for a land idling program, but it’s still unknown if a water shortage will be severe enough to warrant land idling.

   The deadline passed last week to apply for the Klamath Water and Power Agency’s 2012 Land Idling Program, which pays irrigators to leave fields dry and therefore spare water for other producers.

   KWAPA will have a better idea of how much, if any, land will need to be idled next week, when an engineer’s report projecting how much irrigation water will be available late in the growing season is complete, said KWAPA executive director Hollie Cannon.

   Bureau of Reclamation officials have said all Project irrigators will receive water at the beginning of the season, but it’s unknown if there will be enough water to continue full water deliveries through the end of the growing season.

   Despite a recent increase in precipitation and rising Upper Klamath Lake levels, irrigators’ allotment of water likely will be limited due to water requirements for endangered sucker and coho salmon, Cannon said.

   “We have 100 percent of normal snowpack, a full lake and 92 percent of year-to-date precipitation,” he said. “It seems ridiculous that we’re even talking about a (water) cutoff at all.”

   KWAPA could implement a split-season land idling program, which would pay producers to stop taking irrigation water from July on, Cannon said.

   It’s possible groundwater could make up for any shortage in surface water and make land idling unnecessary he added.

Side Bar

Water report     

   Snowpack in the Klamath Basin Wednesday was 102 percent of average for that date. This week marked the first time snowpack has been above average all season.

   Outflows from Upper Klamath Lake, a primary source of irrigation water, have increased in the past week, but lake levels continue to rise. Outflows at Link River Dam were measured at 1,390 cubic feet-per second Wednesday.

   The elevation of Upper Klamath Lake Tuesday was 4,143.14 feet, up from 4,140.54 feet on the same date in 2010 (a drought year) and 4,143.05 in 2011 (a full-water year).

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NOAA Says No To Listing Upper Klamath, Trinity Chinook; Klamath Council Releases Annual Report

Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Greenies & grant $, Salmon and fish

PNP comment: We couldn’t agree more (for once with a federal agency) that the chinook are NOT endangered.  There are plenty of them. They are killed to be eaten during the legal harvest season. — Editor Liz Bowen

NOAA Says No To Listing Upper Klamath, Trinity Chinook; Klamath Council Releases Annual Report

http://www.cbbulletin.com/418910.aspx

NOAA Says No To Listing Upper Klamath, Trinity Chinook; Klamath Council Releases Annual Report

Columbia Basin Bulletin

April 6, 2012

NOAA’s Fisheries Service announced Monday that, after considering the “best scientific and commercial data available, it has decided that chinook salmon stocks in the Upper Klamath and Trinity rivers basin of southern Oregon and northern California do not warrant listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The announcement comes in the form of a 12-month “finding” on a petition filed on Jan.28, 2011, by the Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild, Environmental Protection Information Center, and The Larch Company.

In making the finding, which was finalized through publication in the April 2, 2012 Federal Register, the agency concluded that “overall extinction risk of the ESU is considered to be low over the next 100 years.” An ESU – evolutionarily significant unit — is the species designation used by NOAA Fisheries based on genetic and geographical factors.

Based on biological, genetic, and ecological information compiled and reviewed as part of a previous West Coast status review for chinook salmon, NOAA Fisheries included all spring-run and fall-run chinook salmon populations in the Klamath River Basin upstream from the confluence of the Klamath and Trinity rivers in the UKTR chinook salmon ESU.

The Federal Register Notice says that “Abundance of spawning populations in the ESU appear to have been fairly stable for the past 30 years and since the review by Myers et al. (1998). Although current levels of abundance are generally low compared with historical estimates of abundance, the current abundance levels do not constitute a major risk in terms of ESU extinction.

“Long-term population growth rates are positive for most population components that were analyzed, indicating they are not currently in decline and, in general, most populations are large enough to avoid genetic problems.”

“Based on these considerations and others described in this notice, NMFS concludes this ESU is not in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, nor is it likely to become so in the foreseeable future,” according to the notice.

See the Federal Register notice for further information:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/04/02/2012-7879/listing-endangered-and-threatened-species-12-month-finding-on-a-petition-to-list-chinook-salmon-in#p-12

The Trinity River is the longest tributary of the Klamath River, located in northwestern California. It drains an area of the coast ranges, including the Klamath Mountains, northwest of the Sacramento Valley.

The Klamath River runs southwest through Oregon and California, cutting through the Cascade Range to empty into the Pacific Ocean.

Anadromous salmonids in California, like UKTR chinook salmon, exist at the southern edge of their range along the West Coast of North America.

Meawhile, in other Klamath developments, the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council, amidst the uncertainty of another dry water year, on Monday released its second annual report highlighting accomplishments since agreements were signed in 2010 in an attempt to assure sustainable natural production of fish such as native salmon and support agriculture and other commerce reliant on the river system.

The most recent forecasts are for a spring-summer water supply of less than 60 percent of the long-term average for the basin.

The “Restoration Agreement” struck in 2010 is intended to result in effective and durable solutions which will: 1) restore and sustain natural fish production and provide for full participation in ocean and river harvest opportunities of fish species throughout the Klamath basin; 2) establish reliable water and power supplies which sustain agricultural uses, communities, and National Wildlife Refuges; and 3) contribute to the public welfare and the sustainability of all Klamath Basin communities, according to the second annual report.

The “Hydroelectric Settlement” lays out the process for additional studies, environmental review, and a decision by the Secretary of the Interior regarding whether removal of four dams on the river owned by PacifiCorp: 1) will advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath basin; and 2) is in the public interest, which includes but is not limited to consideration of potential impacts on affected local communities and tribes. The four dams are Iron Gate, J.C. Boyle, Copco 1 and Copco 2. The hydroelectric settlement includes provisions for the interim operation of the dams and the process to transfer, decommission, and remove the dams.

The KBCC noted that when these agreements are implemented, local irrigators and fisheries would have greater certainty for obtaining the water needed in dry years.

The Klamath Basin restoration and hydroelectric settlement agreements were forged by Klamath River basin stakeholder groups including basin irrigators, fishermen, tribes and conservation groups, PacifiCorp, agencies within the states of California and Oregon, federal agencies, Humboldt County, California, and Klamath County, Oregon.

Forty-five entities in all have signed the Klamath basin agreements.

Over the past two years, parties to the agreements have implemented the following near-term actions:

Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement

– The KBCC has reviewed and updated the cost estimates to implement the KBRA. This process reduced the seven-year cost estimates by 38 percent and the 15-year cost estimates by 18 percent.

– The Klamath Water and Power Agency is developing the On-Project Plan to align water supply and demand for irrigation in the Klamath Reclamation Project in light of limitations on diversions of water that will arise under the restoration agreement. With these limitations, the availability of water from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River for irrigation would be approximately 100,000 acre feet less than current demand in the driest years, with irrigation water availability increasing on a sliding scale with increasingly wet conditions.

– The Drought Plan Lead Entity has completed the Drought Plan and it is under review by the Department of the Interior. When the Drought Plan and other provisions of the Restoration Agreement are implemented it would provide more water for fishery resources in very low-water years and more certainty for irrigators than current conditions.

– Reclamation has made progress on studies of additional water storage in the Klamath basin that could benefit agriculture and fish resources.

Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement

– The Department of the Interior has issued a draft of a report summarizing information on whether removal of four hydroelectric dams owned by PacifiCorp is in the public interest (the draft Klamath Dam Removal Overview Report) and a peer review panel has completed its review of the draft.

– The Department of the Interior and the California Department of Fish and Game have released a draft environmental impact statement/environmental impact report evaluating environmental impacts of removal of the four PacifiCorp dams under consideration for removal.

– The public utility commissions in California and Oregon have approved the collection of funds to pay for decommissioning the dams. As of the end of January 2012, the combined balance of the Oregon and California dam removal trust accounts was more than $28 million.

– The interim measures to improve environmental conditions within the Klamath Hydroelectric Project to benefit aquatic habitat and listed species, improve water quality, and improve hatchery operations are being implemented on the schedule called for in the KHSA. Implementation of a number of programs has been delayed until Congress passes legislation and funding is available.

Measures that have been delayed include:

– Preparation and implementation of the Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring Plan;

– Work on the Off-Project Water Settlement;

– Implementation of the elements of the Power for Water Management Program, including the Interim Power and Conservation and Renewable Resources Programs;

– Implementation of the Drought Plan; and

– The Secretary of the Interior’s decision on the four Klamath River dams is also delayed until Congress passes the authorizing legislation.

The interior secretary, in cooperation with the Secretary of Commerce and other federal agencies, will determine whether the conditions of the Hydroelectric Settlement have been satisfied, and whether facilities removal: 1) will advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath basin; and 2) is in the public interest, which includes but is not limited to consideration of potential impacts on affected local communities and tribes, the implementation report says. The KHSA had called on the secretary to use best efforts to complete this determination by March 31, 2012.

But on Feb. 27 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that he would not make a decision by March 31 because Congress has not yet enacted legislation necessary to authorize a Secretarial Determination under the terms of the KHSA.

The Klamath Basin historically supported one of the most abundant salmon fisheries in the nation, with an estimated predevelopment run size of up to a million salmon per year,” according to the new implementation report. “As a result of multiple stressors, these fisheries have declined steeply in the Klamath Basin. Fall-run Chinook salmon are now estimated to be 14 percent of their highest historic estimated abundance; and coho salmon abundance is at an estimated 2 percent.

Two species of suckers that reside in and around Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon are listed as endangered under the ESA and coho salmon in the Klamath River are listed as threatened.

The removal of the dams would facilitate the recolonization, or reintroduction, of salmon in upper part of the basin in Oregon. Dam removal would allow access to historic habitat.

“Oregon remains fully committed to implementing the Klamath Basin Agreements, and I’m pleased that substantial progress has been made,” Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said”. I was governor during the water crisis in 2001 and 2002, and I remember well the devastating effect the drought had on communities in the basin. Following through on these agreements, and passing the congressional legislation, will help us have different and better outcomes when we face low-water seasons.”

“California is pleased with the progress over the last two years,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird. “California has worked closely with the federal agencies on the environmental studies. We look forward to working with Oregon and the congressional delegation to pass the federal legislation needed to fully implement these agreements.”

“We are encouraged by the progress that has been made” said Greg Addington, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association. “Unfortunately, we are heading into another very uncertain water year. The communications and trust that has developed among the parties to the agreement have been very helpful, but we need Congress to act to pass the Klamath legislation so we can get more certainty about our water supplies.”

“The fish managers have made progress, but we can’t truly solve the Klamath crisis until Congress acts on this bi-partisan agreement,” according to Leaf Hillman, director of Karuk Natural Resources Department.

Copies of the annual report, the Klamath settlement agreements, along with summaries, reports, and meeting notices can be found at www.klamathcouncil.org.

To learn more about the studies related to the four Klamath River dams visit www.klamathrestoration.gov

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

This information and much more that you need to know about the ESA,
the Klamath River Basin, and private property rights can be found at The
Klamath Bucket Brigade’s web site – http://klamathbucketbrigade.org/index.html
please visit today.

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