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NW Fishletter #385, Sept. 4, 2018

[10] Late Intervenor Approved By FERC, Another Applies In Klamath Dam Removal Case

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a request by the Klamath River Outfitters Association to become a late intervenor, and is being asked to grant another late intervenor request, by the city of Yreka, Calif., in commission proceedings that would split PacifiCorp's Klamath Project license in half and transfer the lower four projects to the Klamath River Renewal Corp. for removal [P-2082, P-14803].

The city's motion, filed Aug. 14, says Yreka and its 7,840 residents get their water supply exclusively from Fall Creek through a water right allowing up to 15 cfs, and 6,300 acre feet annually.

The water comes from diversions near PacifiCorp's Fall Creek hydroelectric facility, through a pipe that crosses the Klamath River at the Iron Gate Dam, one of the four dams slated for removal under the FERC application.

"Because the proposed decommissioning of the Iron Gate Dam would eliminate Iron Gate Reservoir, returning the river into a much smaller water course, the City's water line would then be exposed to vandals, terrorists and water scouring," the motion states.

According to the city's motion, the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement protects the city's water rights, and provides funding to relocate the city's diversion pipes. However, the motion says, additional information about decommissioning plans--filed by the Klamath River Renewal Corp. on June 28--reveals other actions that may impact the city's water supply, prompting the city to seek to intervene.

Yreka's motion also says that, and that the city is working with KRRC and PacifiCorp to address its water-supply concerns and is optimistic the issues will be resolved. It says PacifiCorp. and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife do not oppose the city's motion to intervene

The request follows FERC's Aug. 1 decision allowing the outfitters association to intervene, even though the Nov. 6, 2017, deadline to file motions to intervene had passed. The group is concerned the process of removing the dams without mitigation and proper planning could harm the Klamath River's Class IV-plus whitewater rafting.

Over the course of a year, whitewater rafting guides serve between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors and bring in about $500,000, the group says. -K.C. Mehaffey

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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Mark Ohrenschall, Editor: K.C. Mehaffey
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