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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,

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!

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