By H & N Staff
Herald & News
CHILOQUIN — The Klamath Tribes voted Tuesday to support a final version of a water settlement agreement and a plan to remove four Klamath River dams to restore fish passage.
Tribal members voted overwhelming to support the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.
"This is good news not only for the Tribes but for the Basin community,” said Klamath Tribes Chairman Joe Kirk in a statement sent to news media. "It is a step toward ending decades of strife, and moving toward a sustainable future for us all.”
The Tribes are among dozens of stakeholders who have until Feb. 9 to review and decide whether to support the 369-page restoration agreement before it goes to lawmakers to secure legislation and funding.
Klamath County commissioners are expected to make a decision in early February.
Tribes, farmers, ranchers, environmentalists and fishermen as well as state and federal governments spent years negotiating the water agreement, which aims to resolve water disputes in the Klamath River watershed as well as provide affordable power to irrigators. It also supports the Tribes acquiring the Mazama Tree Farm in northern Klamath County.
Tribal member Jeff Mitchell said the tree farm is in the northwest corner of the Tribes’ former reservation.
"This is a significant economic development opportunity for us and throughout the county,” he said.
The hydroelectric settlement is between PacifiCorp and state and federal governments to study the feasibility of dam removal.