Plan for dam removal on Klamath River
Jan 16,2008 00:00 by UPI

SACRAMENTO - A temporary alliance of farmers, federal agencies, Indian tribes and environmentalists has proposed removing four dams on a California and Oregon river.

PacifiCorp Power, which owns the hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, has not signed on, The New York Times reported.

The proposal announced Tuesday, to reopen the Klamath to migrating fish, united interest groups that are seldom in alliance. These include farmers, agencies charged with protecting wild salmon and tribes with land along the Klamath -- although at least one, the Hupa, had not signed on.

Steve Thompson, a regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the end result would be "one of the most amazing restoration projects in the world."

PacifiCorp has applied for new licenses for the dam, but federal officials said a requirement would be the construction of fish ladders to allow salmon to migrate upriver to spawn. Backers of removal say getting rid of the four dams would be far cheaper than rebuilding them, but the utility disagrees.

The cost of the plan has been estimated at $1 billion, but federal officials say about half the funding has already been approved in the form of spending on mitigation.

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