Friday, November 14, 2008

Dam Busters

I've become convinced I'm right about the Klamath Dams not really affecting the fish up there to any great extent. Convinced if only because those espousing taking the dams down keep saying the same things without regards for what's actually happening.

I'll agree that people using water for agriculture and other uses can certainly drain a river, but that's not necessarily a problem of the dams themselves since dams store water for use we otherwise wouldn't have.

First to get me started on this rant was Eric making a post on the dam busting and saying he hopes that there's any salmon in the Klamath to be saved. This, despite me pointing out earlier on here that the Klamath is the only river in the state where salmon fishing is allowed this year and the run is believed to be the second strongest in thirty years.

But, but....I thought the dams were fish killers?

Then some of the commenters saying the big fish kill on the Klamath was a "massacre", suggestive that man caused the kill by having the dams there. I pointed out that low flows can cause problems with or without dams. Heck, dams actually store water so they could help with the flow.

So, of course, the Times- Standard covers plans to bust the dams this morning referring to the "troubled Klamath River and its once legendary salmon runs...". No mention of the Klamath's apparent near record salmon run this year.

It kind of makes me wonder who they'll blame for what when the dams come down and the salmon runs keep going up and down like they always have?
Slight correction: I've been saying this year's Klamath run is the second largest in 30 years, as brought out by the Del Norte's Triplicate newspaper. Actually, they say it's the second largest allocation to fishermen in the last 30 years and I don't know that an allocation necessarily equates to the size of a run.

For instance, I doubt if estimates show a run was going to double, from one year to the next, that they'd necessarily double the amount of fish people could catch. They might, but I don't know that would be the case.

Still, something to be said in that they doubled the allocation on the Klamath and closed down fishing nearly everywhere else.


At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way the dams foul the water is with the massive algae blooms that take place in the lakes. I've fished the Upper Klamath Lake many times and have never seen a healthy trout caught. Nothing a human would consume, and this is at the top of the entire watershed. Also, it is a sight to behold to see these algae blooms. You'll be boating along in funky colored nutrient rich water and as you get into the main body of the lake the water just becomes green as split pea soup all of a sudden. So thick with algea you couldn't see your hand 12 inches underwater. Also, the locals up there advise against swimming in it- something about it being toxic.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Yes, but that happens in the rivers, too, when flows go low towards the end of summer. I don't recall hearing about it this year but we usually get warnings about "swimmer's itch" from going in to the water later in the summer.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Finally found a comment of mine from an old post on this issue. Was looking for the web site of some people that want to save at least one of the dams:

Interesting quote from their site that I haven't heard in any discussion of this:

"...Other rivers in the area that have no dams actually have the same or lower water quality.".

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The algae blooms in the lakes are different from what we see in the rivers around here, although their effects on water quality may be the same. The lake algae are single delicate green strands about 1cm in length or so. There are gazillions of them. The best way I could describe the difference is river algae generally clings to rocks while this lake stuff is just everywhere. I think when the blue-green algae craze was going on lots of it was being harvested in Upper Klamath Lake.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I remember that blue green algae stuff that was suppose to be healthy for you. I tried it and it made me feel queasy. It was some sort of pyramid scheme, IMHO.


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