The Klamath Agreements are Good for the Regional Economy

Investing in Solutions

The Klamath (salmon) Management Zone stretches over 400 miles from Coos Bay Oregon to Monterrey Bay California. In several recent years, commercial and sport salmon fishing has been restricted or entirely halted due to poor runs of Klamath salmon. In response to these fishing closures, federal and state governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in disaster relief.  The Klamath Agreements aim to  reverse this trend by investing in real solutions that will end the Klamath Crisis.

Jobs for Struggling Rural Economies

The Klamath Agreements would fund dam deconstruction, river restoration, and improvements in agricultural infrastructure that together represent an investment of nearly $1 billion in and around Siskiyou County California and Klamath County Oregon – areas with consistently higher than average unemployment rates. Each dollar spent in the construction industry in California cycles through local economies 2.35 times. This means that if  $1 billion is spent on dam removal, habitat restoration, and improvements to agricultural infrastructure, it would provide over a $2.3 billion boost to the local economy. 

After dam removal, economic benefits will remain. Consider that each fish caught by a recreational fishermen is worth $200 to the local economy. If the number of fish caught were simply doubled, it would be worth over $4.4 million annually. Doubling the number of fish in the river would also create 71 permanent jobs directly related to the fishery; 48 in recreational industry, 24 in commercial industry. By contrast, urrently PacifiCorp currently employs only 18 people to operate the dams.[1]

Financing the Agreements 

The KHSA provides a total of $450 million for purposes of dam removal: $200 million from PacifiCorp’s ratepayers, $250 million from California.

The KBRA calls for $250 of federal spending on watershed restoration over 15 years and redirection of existing restoration dollars to implement terms of the Agreemeents.

If for any reason there are budgetary shortfalls in funding dam removal, the Agreements require settlement parties to meet and confer in order to solve the impasse.

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 [1] Preliminary Economic Assessment of Dam Removal: The Klamath River, by Sara Kruse and Astrid Schultz, EcoTrust, Jan. 31, 2006.

[2] A job is defined as full time employment for one year.