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More groups join Klamath agreement

Donna Tam

The Karuk Tribe and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations have joined the ranks of those formally supporting the Klamath River dam removal agreements.

Both the Karuk Tribal Council and the PCFFA's board voted on Thursday to sign the agreements that would begin the implementation of the largest dam removal effort in U.S. history. The plans call for tearing out the Klamath River's four main dams and improving conditions for fish and farms in the watershed.

”It has been a long time coming,” Karuk Tribal Chairman Arch Super said in a press release. “We believe these agreements are the key to restoring our river, our fisheries, and our culture. We greatly appreciate the efforts of neighboring tribes, PacifiCorp, conservation groups, federal and state agencies and the agricultural community. It took us all a long time to learn that in order to fix our collective problems, we have to work together.”

PCFFA President David Bitts said the association has been supporting the agreements throughout their development and has found many of its initial concerns addressed through the final agreements.

While there is still more planning ahead and funding to be found, he said participating groups need to move forward.

”It's time for the parties that have been negotiating this agreement to sign it and bring it to the public,” Bitts said.

Over the last several days, other parties in the negotiating process also agreed to sign, including the Klamath Tribes of Oregon, the Yurok Tribe, Humboldt County, the Klamath Irrigation District and the Klamath Drainage District. Participating groups expect that a formal signing ceremony will be held next month.

Organizations have until Feb. 9 to indicate whether they will participate. So far, only the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Northcoast Environmental Center have asked to be taken off the list.

The deals were negotiated for more than three years by representatives from California and Oregon, four area tribes, commercial and sport fishing interests, farming communities and environmental organizations.

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