Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled a draft agreement Wednesday on the proposed demolition of four dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon. The draft sets up a process through which the Interior Department will look into the cost and benefit of removing the dams in order to restore fish habitat while at the same time accommodating farmers and other water consumers.
A total of 26 different stakeholders were involved in the negotiations.
“Hats off to all the stakeholders who have worked so hard to find common ground on one of the most challenging water issues of our time,” Salazar said in a written statement. “This agreement would establish an open, scientifically grounded process that will help me make a fully informed decision about whether dam removal is in the public interest.”
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released a written statement calling the agreement “a tremendous step forward toward completing a preliminary agreement that will make possible the removal of the four dams blocking salmon passage.”
Environmentalists said removal of the dams, which are owned by PacifiCorp., would benefit recreational and commercial fisheries while not harming farmers or the region’s electricity supply.