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Camp Water

Camp water is close to home. Here you will find information on stuff happening here in the shop and on our local waters. You'll also find our weekly newsletter feature, Trailer Trash Thursday, a fun collection of fly fishing videos, perfect for a midweek distraction. If you don't get the newsletter, be sure to sign up today!

Dams to come down on the Klamath

Joel La Follette - Thursday, April 07, 2016

U.S. Department of the Interior Press Release

Last edited 4/6/2016
Date: April 6, 2016
Contact: Jessica Kershaw, interior_press@ios.doi.gov

KLAMATH, Calif. — The U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, PacificCorp, and the states of Oregon and California today signed an agreement that, following a process administered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), is expected to remove four dams on the Klamath River by 2020, amounting to one of the largest river restoration efforts in the nation.

State and federal officials also signed a new, separate agreement with irrigation interests and other parties known as the 2016 Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement (KPFA). This agreement will help Klamath Basin irrigators avoid potentially adverse financial and regulatory impacts associated with the return of fish runs to the Upper Klamath Basin, which are anticipated after dams are removed.

This new agreement acknowledges that additional work is necessary to fully restore the Klamath Basin, advance the recovery of its fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching economy. Many of these efforts will require Congressional action, and the agreement commits the signatories to actively cooperate with all Klamath Basin stakeholders – Members of Congress, tribes, farmers and others – to develop additional agreements over the next year to offer comprehensive solutions to these issues.

The signing ceremony took place today at the mouth of the Klamath River on the Yurok Indian Reservation in Klamath. California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, and President and CEO of Pacific Power Stefan Bird participated in the event, along with Congressman Jared Huffman, tribes, water users and non-governmental organizations from the Klamath Basin community.

The newly amended dam removal agreement, which uses existing nonfederal funding and follows the same timeline as the original agreement, will be filed with FERC on or about July 1 for consideration under their established processes. Under the agreement, dam owner PacifiCorp will transfer its license to operate the Klamath River dams to a private company known as the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. This company will oversee the dam removal in 2020. PacifiCorp will continue to operate the dams until they are decommissioned.

“Today is a historic day where the parties who have worked for decades to restore the Klamath Basin are reaffirming their commitment to each other for the shared vision of fisheries restoration and irrigated agriculture co-existing as we move into the future,” said Secretary Jewell. “This agreement is an important initial step as we work toward a comprehensive set of actions to advance long term restoration and sustainability for tribes, fisheries, and agriculture and water users across the Klamath Basin.”

“These agreements will enable the largest dam removal project in the nation,” said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator. “While more work lies ahead, these agreements support efforts to recover fisheries, sustain the region's farming and ranching interests, and benefit the environment and the communities who rely upon the Klamath River.”

“This historic agreement will enable Oregon and California and the interested parties to get these four dams finally removed and the Klamath River restored to its pristine beauty," Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said.

“These agreements are more than ink and paper, they are a roadmap to the future of the Klamath Basin and of the people who live there,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I’m proud to be a part of a plan that invokes the spirit of collaboration to ensure the recovery of the Klamath's historic fishing grounds while sustaining the region’s farming and ranching heritage.”

“PacifiCorp continues to support the Klamath settlement as a fair way forward for our electricity customers in Oregon, California and beyond,” said Stefan Bird, president and CEO of Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp. “The company is committed to continuing to work with our settlement partners to fully enact this important agreement.”

In 2010, Klamath Basin stakeholders signed the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). In 2014, the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA) was signed. Members of the California and Oregon delegations introduced legislation in the past two Congresses to advance the hard-fought KHSA and two related Klamath agreements. However, the U.S. Congress adjourned last year without authorizing them. The expiration of the KBRA last December caused uncertainty in moving forward with the KHSA and UKBCA.

In early 2016, the parties, who have spent years negotiating the pacts, resolved to find a new path forward. The amended KHSA and the 2016 Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement are the result of those collaborative discussions.

The four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River are operated for hydroelectric power generation. Modern environmental laws require that the dams need to be retrofitted to provide fish passage for salmon, steelhead and other fish. The Oregon and California public utility commissions found that the original KHSA was a prudent alternative for PacifiCorp’s customers.


The Klamath River flows 263 miles through Oregon and northern California in the United States, emptying into the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Tami Heilemann, DOI.


Thomas P. O'Rourke, Chairman Yurok Tribe, Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon, Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California. Photo by Tami Heilemann, DOI.


A River Between Us

Joel La Follette - Thursday, September 10, 2015
What is A River Between Us?
It is a documentary film that brings to light a bitter, century-old, sociopolitical battle over water rights and the historic coalition that rose to end it, driving the largest conservation project in American history.

Why was the film made?
A River Between Us is a cinematic call to action on behalf of the largest restoration project in American history, with an endgame of provoking the White House into taking part in it. And it was created to draw attention to a fragile and precious region of the United States, which has provided a home and livelihood to generations of farmers, fishermen and Native Tribes.

Who is responsible for the film?
A River Between Us was produced by former Oregon State Senator and one-time gubernatorial candidate Jason A. Atkinson in partnership award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeff Martin (Lord, Save Us from Your Followers).

What is the backstory of the film?
Focused on the Klamath River Basin, which is comprised of nearly 16,000 square miles east of the Cascade Range stretching from southern Oregon well into northern California, A River Between Us captures the end of nearly a century of “water wars” in the region, wherein farmers, Native Tribes, local and regional industry, and environmental activists have been pitted against each other for rights to the Klamath River, the longest river in the United States.  

Since the first dam was built on the Klamath in 1918, the river and its surrounding communities have been embroiled in political struggles for water use, with PacifiCorp’s four dams at the center of the matter. In addition to the sociopolitical damage caused by their presence, the dams are responsible for an overall scarcity of water, florescent green algae beds, dying fish, birds, cattle and crops, and vast destruction of life and livelihoods—a situation entirely caused by the actions of humans. The dams provide no water for irrigation, and only one produces any significant energy.

How was the film made?
Atkinson and Martin shot the film over two years along the entire Klamath River, conducting 70 individual interviews throughout Oregon and California with farmers, who need the Klamath’s water for irrigation; Pacific Power, who manages the dams; the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, who problem-solve for water use; historic and modern fishermen; members of the Native Tribes who have lived and worked along the Klamath for centuries; federal, state and local politicians; and environmental advocates.

What results have the film produced already?
The coalition that comes together over the course of the film is made up of 42 different – many historically adversarial – organizations. But as the disparate groups put aside their differences to sign a landmark agreement of compromise, the collective movement began an entirely new approach to conservation, one that views community as a crucial part of the natural habitat, where people are an extension of the river, rather than its controlling interest. Pacific Power has agreed to remove the dams.



A River Between Us Trailer 10 23 14 from It Matters on Vimeo.


What can you do?
The film will be released Oct 13th, 2015, on all digital platforms. Share this page on your social media accounts. Help spread the word about this monumental project. You can change the world with a few simple clicks of your mouse.  Thanks!

ODFW announces regulations to protect fish

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Last Thursday, shortly after the newsletter hit your inbox, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife saw fit to issue a press release regarding new regulations put in place to protect fish during this unusually hot water situation we are currently experiencing. A curtailment of angling after 2:00PM on most Oregon steams went into effect on Saturday, July 18th.  This regulation still provides for angling in the early hours of the day, while protecting fish during the afternoon when temperatures climb. In the weeks leading up to this announcement I had tried to inform my readers about the issue and called for better understanding of the stresses put on salmonids during warm water events.  

ODFW did well in calling for sweeping changes to fishing hours to protect native fish in some of our most at-risk waters. This move is needed and overdue. The only problem with this press release was how it was interpreted by the press. Perhaps the news  didn't have the ratings grabbing bite needed to pull viewers away from footage of freshly minted baby otters at a zoo in Ottawa. Whatever. Before you could say "news at eleven" words like "most" had morphed into "all" and we were thrust into the middle of a fly fishing zombie apocalypse. 

Damage control failed to get any response from local press so informed guides, shop owners and anglers took to social media to squelch the rumors. Those level headed individuals actually read the press release beyond the first two paragraphs and understood the issue. Word is slowly spreading across the land and fewer freaked out fly fishers are rolling into the shop. Let me clarify a just few things that seem to be too complicated for the mainstream press. 

Most of the Deschutes River remains open to angling without any additional time restrictions. The 2:00PM closure effects the last 23.5 miles of the river from Macks Canyon to the mouth. Water temperatures in this section have improved slightly, but still warrant caution from anglers when fishing these waters. If temperatures continue to drop with cool water releases from Pelton Dam combined with more favorable weather, we may see that restriction lifted. It is advisable to still carry a thermometer and curtail fishing when temps exceed 65.  All of the river upstream of Macks Canyon (75+ miles) remains open for normal angling hours. Water temps currently range between 53-62 depending on location and weather. 

The Metolius, Fall and Crooked rivers remain open for regular angling hours. 

The North Umpqua does fall under these new regulations and closes for angling at 2:00PM until one hour before sunrise

All angling for carp, bass, shad, catfish, perch, bullheads, suckers and other non-salmonids, with the exception of sturgeon, remains open in all waters including the Willamette for all normally legal angling hours. This new regulation only effects angling for Trout, Steelhead, Salmon and Sturgeon.

I am posting the ODFW press release below and highlighting in bold some of the things overlooked by the news folks. Maybe not  as entertaining as freshly minted baby otters, but it's news you can use. 


Taken from ODFWs press release...


Thursday, July 16, 2015

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has curtailed fishing hours on most of Oregon’s rivers to avoid additional stress on native fish already suffering from high water temperatures and low stream flows from this year’s drought.

Effective Saturday, July 18, and until further notice, all waterbodies defined as streams in the 2015 Oregon Sportfishing Regulations are closed above tidewater (where applicable) to fishing for trout, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon from 2 p.m. to one hour before sunrise.

Angling for these species will be prohibited at all times in the Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls, including the Clackamas River up to the Interstate 205 Bridge, the Multnomah Channel and the Gilbert River. The following sections of the John Day River will also have complete closures: The mainstem of the John Day River above Indian Creek near Prairie City; the Middle Fork of the John Day River above Mosquito Creek near the town of Galena; the North Fork of the John Day River above Desolation Creek and Desolation Creek.

Some streams will remain open for angling under normal hours because they are less prone to high water temperature risks due to springs, tides, cold water releases from some dams and high elevations.

Streams that will remain open for angling under normal hours are:

Northeast Zone:
The Wallowa River above Sunrise Road; Lostine River above Pole Bridge Campground; Prairie Creek; Hurricane Creek; Spring Creek; and all streams within the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.


Southeast Zone:
The Malheur River and its tributaries; the Owyhee River below the Owyhee Reservoir; and the Blitzen River and its tributaries above Page Springs Weir and Bridge Creek.
The Klamath River and its tributaries.


Central Zone:
The Deschutes River above Macks Canyon; the Metolius River; the Fall River; the Crooked River (from mouth to Bowman Dam); and Tumalo Creek.
The Hood River and its tributaries and the White River and its tributaries.


Willamette Zone:
The McKenzie River and its tributaries; the Middle Fork of the Willamette River below Dexter Dam; the Middle Fork of the Willamette River and its tributaries above Lookout Point Reservoir; and Alton Baker Canoe Canal.
The mainstem of the South Santiam River below Foster Dam; Quartzville Creek; the North Santiam River above Detroit Lake; and the Breitenbush River.


Southwest Zone:
The mainstem Rogue River from Fishers Ferry upstream to William Jess Dam and all tributaries upstream of the William Jess Dam and Lost Creek Reservoir.

Angling in the mainstem Columbia River and mainstem Snake River is not affected by today’s action, and angling hours in these areas will remain under normal regulations at this time. However, a Columbia River Compact/Joint State hearing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 via teleconference to discuss curtailment of recreational catch-and-release sturgeon fishing upstream of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

“Earlier this month, we indicated that if these drought conditions continued, we may have to close or restrict some fisheries,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW’s recreation fisheries manager. “These are difficult, but necessary actions to protect native fish already suffering from extreme drought conditions.”

“This doesn’t mean that all fishing has to stop.” According to Gauvin, most streams will still be open in the early hours when water temperatures are cool, and there are many great fishing opportunities in lakes, reservoirs for hatchery stocked rainbow trout, warmwater fish like, smallmouth bass or crappie, as well as all of the ocean fisheries.

“As extreme weather events become more frequent due to climate change, we need to be prepared for the stress these conditions will have on fish, wildlife and their habitats,” Ed Bowles, Fish Division Administrator said. “Planning for the effects of these changing climatic conditions presents a unique challenge for us, yet we are committed to doing our best to enhance resiliency to climate change and avoid significant impacts on our natural resources.”

ODFW already implemented emergency regulations on several other rivers. In addition, trout stocking schedules and locations have been adjusted and some hatchery fish have been released early as a result of high water temperatures. Elevated water temperatures have led to salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon deaths in several rivers.
Gauvin encourages the public to report sightings of stranded fish, or other wildlife distressed by drought, to the department and to take precautions when fishing during these drought conditions.

On days when temperatures soar, anglers can do their part to reduce the stress on fish by adopting the following measures:

Fish early in day when water temperatures are cooler.
Use a thermometer to check water temperatures frequently. Stop fishing when temperatures exceed 70 degrees.
Consider changing locations to high elevation lakes or shaded streams near headwaters. These places are often cooler.
Use barbless hooks so you can release fish easily without harming them.
Use the appropriate gear and land fish quickly. The longer the fight, the less likely the fish will survive.
Keep the fish in the water when you unhook it and cradle the fish upright until it revives enough to swim away.
Use your judgement. If conditions where you want to fish seem especially severe (low, hot water), consider fishing somewhere else where water conditions are better.
Check the regulation update pages on the ODFW website before you head out to make sure temporary emergency regulations have not been put in place for the waters you want to fish.
Gauvin recommends anglers check the weekly Recreation Report on the ODFW website for updates on stocking, water conditions and boating access.


END OF RELEASE
 


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