Klamath River Restoration/Hydropower Agreement Signed

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AM Bakker
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Klamath River Restoration/Hydropower Agreement Signed

Postby AM Bakker » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:42 pm

The Klamath River Restoration/ Hydropower Agreement was signed February 18, 2010 in Salem Oregon a culmination of 5 years of negotiations. See below for Press Release.

Mark Rockwell, Vice President of Conservation for the Northern California Federation of Flyfishers and our representative on the negotiation team stated "It is hard to put into words what a momentous day this is relative to river restoration both here in California/Oregon, and nationally. This is simply the biggest dam removal project ever undertaken, and a restoration project rivaled only by the Everglades in its size and scope. Though there is still on-going dialogue and debate about the timing and ability of the agreements to achieve their intended goals, there is no doubt it represents a quantum leap forward for the river, its fisheries, and the communities dependant upon its resources."

"The Klamath River, historically a revered fly fishing destination, could see it's rich fishing history reborn. The fly fishing community sees these agreements as the way forward to re-establish one of California's great fishing locations. We are all excited at this possibility."

On behalf of the NCCFFF, I would like to personally thank Mark for his 7 years of hard work and perseverance in the negotiation process to develop this historic settlement.

Anne-Marie Bakker
President, NCCFFF

N E W S R E L E A S E – Thursday, February 18, 2010

Karuk Tribe · Klamath Tribes of Oregon · Yurok Tribe

American Rivers · Trout Unlimited · California Trout
Salmon River Restoration Council

 Natural Heritage Institute
Northern CA Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers
 · Institute for Fisheries Resources

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations
Klamath Water Users Association · Upper Klamath Water Users Association
Klamath County · Humboldt County

Media Contacts:
Craig Tucker, Karuk Tribe: (916) 207-8294 Jeff Mitchell, Klamath Tribes: (541) 891 5971
Troy Fletcher, Yurok Tribe: (707) 498-8486 Steve Rothert, American Rivers: (530) 277-0448
Chuck Bonham, Trout Unlimited: (510) 917-8572 Curtis Knight, California Trout: (530) 859-1872
Petey Brucker, Salmon River Watershed Council (530) 598-4229
Mark Rockwell, N. CA Council, Federation of FlyFishers: (530) 432-0100
Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations: (541) 689-2000
Greg Addington, Klamath Water Users Association: (541) 892-1409
Karl Scronce, Upper Klamath Water Users Association: (541) 281-2053

– Fisheries recovery at center of effort to strengthen local economies

– Effective solutions replace emergency expenditures and endless litigation

Salem, OR – Today – for the first time ever – there is a viable, legally binding plan to restore and protect the ecosystem, cultures, and local economies of the Klamath Basin, said supporters of two historic agreements that settle long-standing differences in the area. Members of the broad-based coalition that crafted the agreements, and their growing roster of supporters, gathered today in Salem at a signing ceremony together with the Governors of Oregon and California, the Secretary of the Interior, and other high ranking Obama administration officials. The agreements have been five years in the making and by signing today, stakeholders make a fifty-year commitment to work together to restore the Klamath Basin’s resources and communities. 

The settlement agreements include the comprehensive Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) that addresses environmental and economic issues in the Basin, and a sister agreement, the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA), which outlines a rigorous process for removing four Klamath River dams. 

“Restoring the Klamath River fisheries from source to sea is a central focus of this restoration effort. Ours is the only practical plan to address removal of four dams necessary for fish recovery. And it creates a foundation for peace in our conflict-torn Basin by defining water sharing among competing – and growing – demands,” said Jeff Mitchell, Councilman and lead negotiator for the Klamath Tribes.
Optimism marked the day as supporters urged citizens to “give change a chance” and support this opportunity to work together. That message also went out to elected officials whose support Klamath leaders ask for as they now begin work to secure necessary legislation in Congress.
Conservation groups emphasized that this plan demonstrates that environmental restoration can also be good for local economies. Klamath River tribes said that for the first time in 100 years there is hope to bring back some of the West Coast’s largest salmon runs, which will provide economic opportunity and restore vital cultural assets. Farmers and ranchers said that they want to create more reliable conditions for agriculture so their children can continue to live and work in the Basin. 

“Change is happening and we invite people to join us,” declared Thomas O’Rourke, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Legislation will take some time, but former adversaries are already working together to manage the Basin, take care of our people, and craft a shared future. That’s what we’re celebrating here today.”
This plan includes the largest dam removal project in history. The coalition’s conservation organizations (which together have more dam removal experience than any groups in America) emphasized that the magnitude of the project requires careful customer_request_form to confirm that removal, which is slated for 2020, is in the public interest.
“Dam removal gets a lot of attention but removal alone is not enough to restore the many endangered fisheries to self sustaining and harvestable levels. Habitat restoration and improved water flows at key times of year are also critical,” said Steve Rothert, California Director for American Rivers. “We recognize that we must work as partners with the agricultural community and private landowners to make that possible.”
The region's important wildlife refuges and the Pacific Flyway also benefit from the KBRA. When implemented, the KBRA would provide a certain and predictable supply of water to Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuges. Extensive habitat improvements to area wetlands and incentives for farmers to retain flooded areas for waterfowl will also benefit migratory birds.

Settlement supporters now turn their attention to Washington, DC where they’ll seek funds to invest in Klamath communities and implement the comprehensive restoration plan. Restoration measures will be accompanied by financial investments to diversify agricultural, tribal and county economies, including extensive renewable energy development.

“From the beginning, our shared premise for negotiation was that wildlife restoration without measures to stabilize local economies was not going to bring the long-term sustainability and wellbeing our communities need,” said Luther Horsley, President of the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents farmers in the federal Klamath Reclamation Project.

Supporters urged the public to know the facts about the cost of restoration. They said that in the past decade, the federal government has spent an average of $50 million each year on measures that too often only address symptoms of the Basin’s problems. The KBRA will apply that amount to carefully coordinated restoration and match it over ten years to fix root causes of problems.

“The Klamath Basin has lurched from crisis to crisis, and Congress has had to provide disaster assistance each time," said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, representing commercial fishing communities. "These agreements are a far better use of taxpayer money because they invest in real and permanent solutions."

Editors note: for more information about the Klamath Agreements, see:
http://www.edsheets.com/Klamathdocs.html - (full text of Agreements and summaries)
http://www.americanrivers.org/our-work/ ... river.html
- (extensive compilation of reports and customer_request_form)
http://www.klamathrestoration.org - (tribal perspectives on Basin agreements)
http://kwua.org & http://ukwua.com - (agricultural perspectives on Basin agreements)

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