Removal of 4 Dams to Reopen 420 Miles of Historic Salmon Habitat on Klamath River
It's been 115 years since the first of six dams began regulating flows on the Klamath River, which runs from the high desert of eastern Oregon to the northern California coast.
By 2020 most of them will be gone—and the river's once-abundant salmon runs hopefully on the rebound—if two new agreements between tribal, state and federal governments, the operator and other stakeholders work out as planned.
Dam removal on the @klamathriver will reopen 420 miles of historic fish habitat. #UnDamTheKlamath https://t.co/TdkrJYkDkS— Marc Yaggi (@Marc Yaggi)1459963827.0
On Wednesday, standing before the mouth of the Klamath River on the Yurok Reservation in California, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the federal departments of the interior and commerce, along with the states of Oregon and California and the Karuk and Yurok tribes, have signed a new agreement with electric power company PacifiCorp to decommission and remove four hydropower dams along the Klamath River.
The agreement creates a “path forward for the largest river restoration in the history of the United States," along with “the largest dam removal project in the history of our nation," Jewell said.
The new pact will allow PacifiCorp to take three dams in California—Copco 1, Copco 2 and the Iron Gate Dam—and the John C. Boyle Dam in Oregon out of service by using the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's established licensing process for hydropower.
PacifiCorp's license to operate the dams expired in 2006. An earlier agreement to authorize their removal, created in 2010, required Congressional approval and expired at the end of 2015 after Congress adjourned without enacting it.
“From the company's point of view, we have the same agreement [today] that we negotiated since 2008," said Bob Gravely, a spokesperson for PacifiCorp. “This is simply a way to continue pursuing it without needing involvement from Congress."
The second agreement commits the state and federal governments to assisting farmers and ranchers in the river's upper basin with the likely financial and regulatory impacts of returning fish runs, which will need to be protected from irrigation infrastructure.
While the Klamath River's runs of spring and fall Chinook salmon have not been formally declared endangered, they have been faltering for years. And since 1997, the Klamath River run of coho salmon has been listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“By removing dams we're reopening hundreds of miles of spawning habitat and dramatically improving water quality," said Craig Tucker, natural resources policy advocate for the 4,000-member Karuk Tribe of California, which has signed on to the new agreement. “The Karuk, and the Yurok and other people in this basin are salmon people. Their cultures, their economies, their religion, all rely upon the return of the salmon."
The removal of the four dams will be the necessary first step in restoring the river's fish habitat, Tucker said, but much more will need to be done, including restoration of marshes and other wetlands in the upper basin.
Lack of salmon has led many Karuk to consume a more Western diet, Tucker said, leading to rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity in the tribe that outpace national averages. “Historically, research shows that Karuk consumed 1.2 pounds of salmon per person per day. Now we're lucky if each person gets four pounds a year," he said.
The absence of the salmon has also harmed the tribe's religious practices, including one ceremony tied to the arrival of the first spring Chinook. “The spring salmon is probably the most at-risk run of salmon in the river," Tucker said. “You can't have that ceremony without salmon."
Hosts of other important ceremonies traditionally “feed everyone with salmon who comes and if there are no fish, they can't meet that obligation," Tucker added. “It would be like if the Pope didn't have enough wine and crackers for mass."
“We see removal of these dams as the single biggest act of restoration that can be carried out on the Klamath," Tucker said. “I would assert that it's the biggest salmon restoration project in U.S. history."
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate TakePart.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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