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Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, Calif.
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Released On: February 11, 2010

The Bureau of Reclamation Announces Recovery Act Award for the Non-Use Economic Evaluation Study for Dam Removal on the Klamath River in California

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, announced today the award of a contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The $843,000 award to Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, N.C. will support scientific investigations to evaluate the economic potential for advancing fisheries restoration by removing four dams, and whether it is in the public interest to do so. The dams are located on the Klamath River approximately 15 miles from the city of Yreka, Calif., and into Southern Oregon.

A broad stakeholder collaborative effort has been underway for several years to address long-standing disputes over scarce water resources and fisheries restoration in the Klamath Basin. Negotiations of two agreements, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement, are nearing completion to further the resolution of disputes between conservationists, tribes, farmers, fishermen and state and federal agencies. 

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement will improve conditions for fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act that may be affected by the Klamath Project including threatened Coho salmon, and endangered Lost River sucker and shortnose suckers.

The Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement calls for the analysis of whether it is in the public interest to remove four hydropower dams on the Klamath River. This analysis requires a full assessment of the economic effects of dam removal. This assessment will focus on local, regional, and national economic benefits and impacts. The comprehensive economic analysis of dam removal will study impacts to downstream and other affected communities, including the loss of tax revenues and jobs, changes to the value of regional and local commercial fisheries, other businesses, and national economic values attached to environmental changes associated with dam removal.  

"The collaborative efforts underway in the Klamath Basin are critical to finding the best solutions that restore and protect water supplies, water quality, and ecosystem health within a stable collaborative framework. The proposed dam removals are an important component of this framework, and the economic assessment of environmental changes will contribute toward a comprehensive economic evaluation of dam removal at the local, regional, and national levels," said Reclamation's Commissioner Michael L. Connor. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. 
The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures - our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage - while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.