For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 13, 2008
Statement by the President on Conservation of Klamath River Basin
In Focus: Environment
I congratulate the many people of the Klamath River Basin in Oregon and California who recently put forward a shared vision for conservation of the river. The agreement my Administration announced today with Oregon, California, and PacifiCorp, the company that owns four hydropower dams on the Klamath River, will advance that vision. Federal, State, and private partners will now begin studying the feasibility of removing four hydropower dams on the river. This is the first phase of a long-term conservation program for upriver salmon habitats.
This agreement turns what was a conflict into a conservation success. For years, there had been disagreement among irrigators, States, tribes, conservationists, and others. Beginning with the drought of 2001, the community, working in partnership with the Federal government, rallied together to find a long-term solution. Since 2002, my Administration has requested and Congress has provided approximately $90 million annually - a total of more than $500 million - for Klamath Basin activities. Working together, the Federal government and its partners have restored irrigation and more than 10,000 acres of fish habitat and banked for conservation more than 800,000 acre-feet of water. These actions have provided adequate water for farmers while also helping species recover.
Together, we have produced an agreement that will greatly reduce the risk of future shutdowns of the irrigation system. I applaud this example of Cooperative Conservation and thank everyone who worked to bring it about.
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