Felice Pace, November 16, 2009
It is difficult to understand why the Pacific Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) has joined the Bush Administration and Governor Schwarzenegger in pushing a Klamath River deal that on balance does not appear to be in the interest of salmon and salmon fishermen. Not only is there the linkage to dam building and the peripheral canal in the Central Valley but the Klamath Deal would put farmers ahead of fish in Klamath River water allocation and require leasing water from irrigation interests in order to provide the flows needed by salmon during drought years.
PCFFA and the environmental groups which have signaled support for the Klamath Deal (American Rivers, Trout Unlimited and Cal Trout) are throwing away an opportunity to do something much better for the Klamath River and its salmon. PacifiCorp’s Klamath dams can not be legally relicensed because they can not be certified as meeting water quality standards. By pursuing that angle, getting PacifiCorp into court and then pursuing a settlement those who want the dams out could strike a much better deal and avoid providing Governor Schwarzenegger with cover for his Central Valley dam building ambitions.