Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement

KLAMATH, Calif. – The U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Commerce, PacificCorp and the states of Oregon and California today signed an agreement that, according to a procedure managed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is expected to remove four dams on the Klamath River by 2020, which is one of the largest river rehabilitation efforts in the country. The comprehensive agreement on the Upper Klamath Basin, signed by the parties in 2014, aimed to resolve competing water requirements in the upper basin, balancing environmental flows with the safety of irrigated agriculture in disputes. It provided for habitat restoration programs as a mechanism for landowners to obtain permits under the Final Species Act and created economic development opportunities for Klamath tribes. The agreement is no longer active due to the lack of financial resources due to the expiration of KBRA. It is a basin that is rich only in fish, agricultural productivity and beauty, but which has suffered from decades of conflict because it does not always have enough water to support these riches. From tribes and ranchers on the oregon rivers, from peasants and small towns in the valleys to commercial and tribal fishermen on the California coast, the people of this basin depend on water. What Sustainable Northwest started ten years ago as a small group of people who are restoring a single ranch is now a movement of different interests that goes from Oregon and California to Washington, D.C. to find solutions that work together for the natural resources of the basin and the people who rely on them. On February 18, 2010, the Tribes and more than 60 other parties signed the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). On the same day, a subgroup of these parties signed a second agreement, the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA).

Both agreements were designed to restore fishing to the basin and preserve the local economy by restoring fish habitat and concluding a water-sharing agreement between the parties that depend on the water of Upper Klamath Lake (Lake) and the Klamath River. A majority of water users living above the lake did not accept this water-sharing agreement, so KBRA provided only a general direction for a possible water-sharing agreement in the upper basin. The parties signed the original klamath hydroelectric settlement agreement in 2010. KHSA describes the removal of four PacifiCorp hydroelectric plants: Iron Gate, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and J.C Boyle. The 2010 agreement was linked to KBRA, an agreement to manage restoration and resolve resource conflicts in the Klamath Basin (see below). When KBRA expired, the parties signed an amended KHSA in April 2016.

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