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NW Fishletter #389, January 7, 2019
 California Files Draft Environmental Impact Report For Klamath Project
The California State Water Resources Board released a draft report outlining environmental impacts of a proposal to remove three Klamath River dams in California, and is accepting public comment until Feb. 26.
The draft Environmental Impact Report identifies "significant and unavoidable" impacts in 14 areas, including aesthetics; air quality; aquatic resources; flood hydrology; geology, soils and mineral resources; hazards and hazardous materials; historical and tribal cultural resources; noise, phytoplankton and periphyton; public services; recreation; terrestrial resources; transportation and traffic; and water quality.
Six of those impacts, plus water supply and water rights, were also identified as significant but with mitigation measures that will prevent or avoid significant impacts. "Additionally, the State Water Board has identified cumulatively considerable effects of the Proposed Project," the Board's letter announcing the release of its report states.
The analysis is part of California's process for issuing a final permit under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act for removing the dams. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has already issued its final water quality certification for removal of the J.C. Boyle Dam--a fourth dam in the proposal to restore the lower Klamath River to a free-flowing river.
Klamath River Renewal Corporation and PacifiCorp have filed joint applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to separate the four dams from PacifiCorp's license, transfer the license for those four dams to KRRC, and surrender the license so that dam removal can begin.
In a news release, the KRRC applauded release of the document. "This draft report is a key step to completing this critical project and rehabilitating one of the great rivers of the American west. It's a sign of meaningful progress and I look forward to a thorough KRRC review of this report and its proposals," Mark Bransom, KRRC's chief executive officer said in a prepared statement.
The Board will host public meetings and receive comments in Yreka, Arcata, Orleans and Sacramento from Feb. 5 through Feb. 15. Comments can also be sent to WR401Program@waterboards.ca.gov or Michelle Siebal, State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights - Water Quality Certification Program, PO Box 2000, Sacramento, CA 95812-2000. -K.C. Mehaffey
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