“It’s an economic decision,” says Dave Kvamme with PacifiCorp. “We would rather take the money and devote it to some other source of generation that would produce power at less cost for our customers.”
The dam will operate until 2010, while the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Warm Springs Reservation complete a study of the local fisheries and create a recovery plan. In the meantime, PacifiCorp will leave additional water in the river for fish, and will turn off the power plant’s turbines from April 15 to June 30 each year during the fish migrations. PacifiCorp also agreed to restore the area to its natural condition, cede the land associated with the dam to a public entity, give Powerdale’s water rights to the state for in-stream flow protection, and set aside more than $150,000 in a trust fund for future land maintenance.
The settlement is “a good example of how everyone can get together and find a good solution for fish, healthy rivers and the people who depend on (them),” says Amy Souers with American Rivers.