Major agreement for Klamath

The Klamath Settlement Group, which for more than two years has been negotiating how to restore the Klamath River Basin, on Tuesday (Jan. 15) released the details of a proposed agreement. Among the settlement’s many provisions—which seek to provide sufficient water for salmon fisheries, wildlife refuge and irrigators—is one calling for removal of PacifiCorp dams.

The group comprises representatives of “diverse Klamath basin communities [including farmers and environmentalists] and officers from tribal, federal, state, and county governments that all have a stake in water and power management in the area,” according to a press release. Notably absent, however, is PacifiCorp, the power company owned by mega-investor Warren Buffett that has four hydroelectric facilities on the river.

By getting the other groups in the region—some of them formerly foes—to agree, the agreement puts tremendous pressure on PacifiCorp, which is currently seeking relicensing of its dams from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Klamath was once the third-greatest Pacific salmon stream on the West Coast. Habitat degradation and dams have caused populations to drop by 90 percent. Total cost to implement the agreement is $400 million in new funding over 10 years.