Put dam down

For almost a decade now, the mid-Columbia community has voiced its overwhelming support for the restoration of the White Salmon River and the removal of antiquated Condit Dam whose operating license has expired. The staff of the Federal Energy Commission (FERC) concurred with the dam removal vision in their recently released Draft Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement which says:

" . . . staff finds that the Settlement Agreement with modifications dam removal alternative would provide the best and most cost-effective means of removing the project facilities and reservoir sediments while concurrently providing for the protections of environmental resources, and therefore, recommends the Settlement Agreement with modifications dam removal alternative . . ."

State and federal agencies, the Tribes, wildlife and fisheries biologists, conservation, fishing and recreation groups and the owners of the dam (PacifiCorp) are all on board with a dam removal agreement signed two years ago by all parties which allows for decommission of dam facilities in 2006. This is an unprecedented level of cooperation and the public will not be footing the bill as one my suspect. Dam removal will be paid for entirely by the dam operator, PacifiCorp.

While all appears in order, there are some who wish to kill the deal. A handful of opponents have been waging a disinformation campaign for sometime now. Their arguments are woefully transparent, however and have been dealt with in detail in all the reports leading up to the Settlement Agreement. Even the National Hydropower Association, the pro-dam lobbying group, said that removing Condit Dam is a "win-win" solution!

Admittedly, dam removal will be painful to fisherman who have been using the Northwestern Reservoir for a long time and for some of the cabin owners who lease land in the area from PacifiCorp. Our compassion for them can be balanced with the knowledge that Condit Dam is old and will be silted up completely and useless in less than 20 years.

But it's not a done deal yet. A big turnout for the salmon, the river and dam removal tonight at 7 p.m. at the Hood River Inn is absolutely vital to convince FERC commissioners to adopt the findings of their staff.

Daniel Dancer

Mosier

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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