More ammo for dam busters
Removing four dams from the Klamath River (one of them is pictured) would be far cheaper than building fish ladders on them, federal regulators have determined. In an environmental-impact study released Friday (Nov. 16), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is considering a 50-year relicensing of the dams, determined that removing the dams comes out $7 million a year cheaper than building the ladders.
Indian tribes, environmentalists, fishers and, most recently, upstream farmers all support removing the dams, which provide power for some 70,000 households but have no function for water storage or irrigation. The dams, which were built between 1917 and 1962, keep migrating salmon and steelhead from reaching more than 300 miles of upstream spawning habitat. They are owned by PacifiCorps, a subsidiary of a company owned by multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett.
The company has asked FERC to approve a “trap and haul” program allowing it to collect and truck the fish around the dams. Federal wildlife agencies, however, are demanding fish ladders.