Comments Sought on Sucker Fish Conservation Plan

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, February 21 2013 at 4:21 PM, Updated: Thu, February 21 2013 at 4:37 PM

Conflict between endangered sucker fish and two small hydroelectric plants on the Link River triggered dispute at a meeting in Klamath Falls Wednesday evening...

It's estimated that over one million sucker larvae are destroyed by turbines in the 'East' and 'West' side power plants on the Link River each year.

Those mortality rates to sucker larvae did prompt some questions about whether Pacificorp should be allowed to run the East or West plants, or if they're in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Pacificorp has been helping to mitigate those losses by helping to fund projects like habitat restoration on the Williamson River Delta.

Klamath Basin farmer Lynn Long believes that with improvements, the hydro plants should be allowed to stay...

"Because one, it's natural, renewable power - and two, it could be a partial solution to the electric power dilemma that's facing agriculture in the basin."

Pacificorp, and US Fish and Wildlife officials took comment Wednesday on a report outlining possible impacts of dam removal on Lost River, and shortnose suckers.

Tim Hemstreet of Pacificorp notes:  "The point of the habitat conservation plan is to really get a formal plan in place that we can benefit suckers, and balance hydropower with the needs of listed fish."

While no formal date has been set, Pacifcorp plans to decommission the 3.8 megawatt Link River plants sometime before the year 2020.

Comments on the sucker 'Habitat Conservation Plan' are being taken through March 28th by US Fish and Wildlife.

Here are links to those reports:


Incident Location

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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