Sun. May 19th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – March 8, 2024

Seems like it was nearly a year ago, when Mr. Werschkull of Smith River
Alliance/Coalition fame attended a Board of Supervisor meeting to lobby
for a letter of support for the local US Forest Service.  The
environmental crime at the time was one hundred plus year old mines were
contaminating streams that fed into the Smith River and a three plus
million dollar grant to the forest service was going to attend to that
atrocity.  At the time Mr. Werschkull intimated that the drinking water
from the Smith River was very likely contaminated from all sorts of
nasty’s found in the mine tailings of the aforementioned mines. 
Naturally, it caused a great deal of consternation by the Board and
orders were dispatched.  In a later meeting all fears were laid to rest
when it was reported that regular water testing had occurred and the
resulting examination revealed that no such contamination existed.

So, what is Mr. Werschkull’s involvement in all of this?  As most know,
the “Great Dam Removal” on the Klamath River where four reservoirs have
been breached for preparation in advance of the Dam removal sending 5 to
7 million cubic yards of sediment down river. Of Course the Klamath
River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) assured us “Nothing to worry about”.  We’ve
got this under control.  Well, maybe not.  The County of Siskiyou has
issued a State Of Emergency claiming the Klamath River has been tested
for toxic elements and water samples have indicated ground water is
unsafe for human consumption.  Oops! Looks like the growing list of
complications from the release of Dam water continues to grow.

Beginning with a growing group of people who no longer have water front
homes to lack of water in their wells.  This environmental restoration
has turned from the largest dam removal project in history, to a growing
list of environmental disasters almost over night.  Dead wild life stuck
in acres of wet mud, 800,000 fingerlings released to die in the silt,
sediment clogged, oxygen-less river.  Likely two plus million to
follow.  Bad science to begin this episode, called fraudulent and biased
towards dam removal before the KRRC ever was involved.  Future path for
the massive amount of sediment likely to end up in the Crescent City
Harbor at some future date.   Contaminated lower Klamath River for years
to come.  And the prize at the end of this massively expensive circus is
the restoration of the Salmon population has little likelihood of success.

While I have listed but a few of the unintended consequences of this
recent response to environmental hysteria, there were several known
negatives before the project even began.  A water starved California
just used $200,000 of voter approved Bond money earmarked to improve
water storage in the State just destroyed four reservoirs containing,
WHAT? water.  In a State that is obsessed with “Climate Change” and
removing fossil fuel related energy production, it has eliminated four
sources of hydro power, free of any fossil fuels.  Also in the process,
two hatcheries which produced 20% of the fingerlings born in the River,
are to be eliminated.  And finally the Klamath River has two remaining
dams whose water releases will contain the warm water produced over the
summer in the large shallow waters of the Upper Klamath Lake.

Unfortunately, those that insisted on this foolish enterprise, will have
spent a half billion dollars on a project that has little chance of
success until those dam removal obsessed come to realize that the dams
have little to do with the declining fish populations in the river and
more to do with what is happening in the Pacific Ocean.  The dams
existed for many years before salmon populations showed any evidence of
decline.  Salmon spend only a brief portion of their lives in the West
Coast rivers, the remaining bulk of their existence is in the Pacific
Ocean.  Find out what is happening there and the environmental crazies
will understand how far off the mark they are.  A project for Grant,
perhaps?   Contaminated river water after all.  Aw shucks, wrong river…..

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