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Un-Dam the Klamath and Save the Klamath Salmon
By Regina Chichizola
December 7, 2005

The Klamath River is unique; it starts in the desert wetlands of Eastern Oregon, flows through the rugged Klamath-Siskiyous, then ends in California’s redwoods. Historically, it was the third largest salmon river in the West, and salmon could travel over 400 miles to the headwaters to spawn. Lamprey, sturgeon, suckerfish, Chinook and Coho salmon still spawn here, however they are blocked at the Iron Gate dam, near Ashland. Here the water is not the cool water of the mid-Klamath tributaries, but stagnant algae-infested water created by dams. These dams block 350 miles of habitat.

The Edge of Extinction
The Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa, and Klamath tribes all depend on salmon for subsistence, as do many other communities. However due to the 2002 fish kill of 68,000 salmon and yearly kills since, only 250 spring Chinook were in the Klamath this year down from 100,000, and the Fall Chinook are close to 400. Compared to the 3000-4000 tribal members of the Karuk alone it is obvious low runs are devastating tribal and commercial fishing catches.

Bring the Salmon Home
Nothing has impacted the Klamath more then Pacific Power’s (a subsidiary of Scottish Power) dams. These dams create toxic algae 100 times what the World Heath Organization calls safe. However most mid and lower-Klamath residents and tribes have no electricity. These dams are going through the FERC’s (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) 50-year re-licensing process. This is a rare opportunity to bring the Salmon home and Klamath supporters have held protests in Scotland, Sacramento, and Portland, created movies, print media and radio shows to accomplish this.

The dams’ power is miniscule (150 megawatts, the same as Powers’ current wind power generation, which comes from two wind projects) and the Klamath’s water limited, however both come the Ashland area, and most of Oregon’s western cities are on Pacific Power. Klamath water feeds the lawns at SOU, Talent, Phoenix, and parts of Medford. Furthermore, the Klamath decides the Salmon catch for much of Oregon and California. Therefore your water, power and some of your food may come from the Klamath.

What can I do?

*Host a movie showing, or distribute “The Black Oak” and other outreach materials,

*Write to newspapers, magazines or radio stations and ask them to report on the Klamath dams,

*Contact Pacific Power at 1-888-221-7070 or customerservice@pacificorp.com and ask for dam removal,

*Call Governor Kulongoski and tell him to support dam removal, as California did: (503) 378-3111 or email at representative.citizen@state.or.us

*Get on the Klamath dams list at 541 -951-0126 or southsiskiyou@riseup.net

*Give a tax-deductible donation to the Klamath dam removal campaign

*Fight harmful energy bills that sacrifice the environment for corporations, and reduce you consumption of power and water at home and work, and switch to green energy, (wind or solor). Feel free to call for ideas.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and as defined under the provisions of "fair use", any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research and for educational use by our membership.