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U.S. awards contract for dam removal study on Klamath River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded an $843,000 contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Research Triangle Institute to support scientific investigations to evaluate the economic potential for advancing fisheries restoration by removing four dams, and whether it is in the public interest to do so.

The dams, located on the Klamath River in California and Southern Oregon, are the 90.338-MW J.C. Boyle, 20-MW Copco 1, 27-MW Copco 2, and 18-MW Iron Gate. The full hydroelectric project (No. 2082) features six dams and seven powerhouses. PacifiCorp is the project licensee. (HydroWorld 7/2/09)

A broad stakeholder collaborative effort has been underway for several years to address long-standing disputes over scarce water resources and fisheries restoration in the Klamath Basin. Negotiations of two agreements, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement, are nearing completion to further the resolution of disputes between conservationists, tribes, farmers, fishermen and state and federal agencies. (HydroWorld 12/17/09)

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement will improve conditions for fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act that may be affected by the Klamath Project including threatened Coho salmon, and endangered Lost River sucker and shortnose suckers.

The Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement calls for the analysis of whether it is in the public interest to remove four hydropower dams on the Klamath River. This analysis requires a full assessment of the economic effects of dam removal. This assessment will focus on local, regional, and national economic benefits and impacts.

The comprehensive economic analysis of dam removal will study impacts to downstream and other affected communities, including the loss of tax revenues and jobs, changes to the value of regional and local commercial fisheries, other businesses, and national economic values attached to environmental changes associated with dam removal.

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