- Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger to Limit Suction Dredge Mining
- Tell the California Water Board: Un-Dam the Klamath
- Write a letter to the editor
- Support California fishermen
Limit recreational gold mining on the Klamath River
Send a one-click letter to Governor Schwarzenegger supporting SB 670
While California salmon face drastic declines, the price of gold is bringing increasing numbers of hobby gold miners to the Klamath every summer. Many of them use motorized suction dredge machines to vacuum up the river bottom, sluice the gravel for gold, and dump the remains back into the river. This controversial form of recreation kills aquatic organisms, alters spawning habitat, spills fuel into the river, and stirs up the toxic mercury deposits that were left behind from the last gold rush.
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Tell the California Water Board: Un-Dam the Klamath!
Quickly send a message demanding a clean, dam-free river.
For the last four years PacifiCorp's Klamath dams have created one of the worst toxic algae problems ever recorded. This month the State Water Board will begin deciding if relicensing these dams is consistent with the Clean Water Act. It's time to tell them PacifiCorp's dams should NOT receive the clean water certification they need in order to be relicensed by the federal government.
Successul legal action from Klamath Riverkeeper forced the US EPA to list the algal toxin Microcystin as a pollutant, and forced California to regulate PacifiCorp. The state is now reviewing the issue through a special Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This EIR will determine if the dams are issued clean water certification known as a 401 permit, or if they are removed.
The 401 permit may be the single most crucial process within the movement to un-dam the Klamath. If California denies PacifiCorp’s clean water permit for the dams, it is likely that the only realistic solution to the algae pollution is dam removal. Right now, the Water Board is taking "scoping" comments on the Klamath dams' EIR - the public must tell them what factors must be considered before a "401" clean water permit is issued. Send an email, fax, write, or call Jennifer Watts at the State Water Board by November 17th.
Download talking points
Toxic algae facts to consider
401 Permit Frequently Asked Questions
Download the Klamath Hydroelectric Project EIR Scoping Notice
More info on dams and toxic algae on the Klamath
Write, fax, or call the Water Board
Attention: Jennifer Watts
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 2000
Sacramento, CA 95812-2000
Phone: (916) 341-5397
Fax: (916) 341-5400
- Water samples from PacifiCorp's reservoirs have contained levels of the toxic algae Microcystis aeruginosa 4000 times the concentration considered by the World Health Organization to be a moderate risk to human health.
- The toxin produced by M. aeruginosa is now listed by the US EPA as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act in the sections of the Klamath River containing PacifiCorp's reservoirs.
- Reservoir gamefish bioaccumulate these algae-associated toxins in their flesh. Yellow Perch fillets harvested from areas where the algae blooms are hazardous to human consumption.
- Last year, 190 river miles were posted with health warnings when the toxic algae blooms were released from PacifICorp's reservoirs into the river.
- PacifiCorp has known about its algae problems for 5+ years but has not taken serious action to solve the problem.
- Releases of toxic algae into the river impact the three downriver Native Tribes, whose subsistence foods are contaminated by the algae and ceremonies are interrupted by river closures.
- Toxic algae in the river impacts the Klamath's recreational businesses, who depend on clean water for rafting and fishing.
- In addition to creating toxic conditions on the Klamath, PacifiCorp's dams illegally block fish from 300 miles of habitat, and kill the majority of the Klamath's juvenile Chinook by causing widespread fish disease.
- Aerial photos of the Klamath algae problem
- YouTube: Klamath Toxic Algae Story
- Report: Bioaccumulation in Klamath fish and mussels
- Press Release: Klamath Riverkeeper legal victory forces EPA to regulate toxic algae
- More studies and info on Klamath dams & toxic algae
Toxic algae in PacifiCorp's reservoirs is best addressed by Klamath dam removal, a solution supported by all four Klamath River Tribes, prominent fisheries and hydrology scientists, state and federal agencies, and Upper Basin irrigators' associations. Chemical algicide, the "band-aid" PacifICorp is currently testing, will only compound toxicity and disease problems on the river.
Contact Info for Oregon and California Senators and Representatives:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
Email Senator Feinstein
Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-0454 fax
Email Senator Boxer
Senator Ron Wyden
223 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3703
Phone: (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 228-2717
Email Senator Wyden
Senator Gordon Smith
404 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510
Email Senator Smith
Ca. Rep. Wally Herger
2268 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Email Rep. Herger
Ca. Rep. John Doolittle
2410 Rayburn HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
Email Rep. Doolittle
Or. Rep. Greg Walden
1210 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Email Rep. Walden
Write a letter to the editor
Setting the record straight on the opinion pages of our local and regional papers is a great way to tell the Klamath story. Check out the information below and then craft your own letter. Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can point you toward useful studies or resources. Thanks for your hard work in support of removing Klamath dams - it will pay off!