This segment is lacking background music. The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages continues its investigation on the side of the environment in the Basin—most notably the formerly large populations of salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, Lost River suckers and short-nosed suckers that have dwindled as a result of the dams that block 350 miles of the river. We’ll hear from conservationists, wildlife experts, commercial fisherman and members of the region’s Indian tribes who are fighting to restore these fish populations. Environmentalists shall have a say in this program as well. Research shows that behind the antiquated dams lie huge quantities of toxic sediment that must be factored into the delicate equation of removing the dams. Can the ecosystem be restored without polluting the water further? How much upper basin water is necessary for lower basin recovery? Will the endangered fish return and thrive in the Klamath River?
These intricate and often thorny issues have led to the nation’s largest river restoration project ever. In a remarkable show of collaboration, 2010 brought people from all sides of the Klamath water issues closer to unity based on two pivotal agreements. The Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Agreement reviews the environmental impact of removing four of the dams along the river; and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement outlines the steps necessary to restore fish habitat. Will Congress approve the framework for restoring this national treasure? Can 21st century interests coexist with the values of 100 years ago? Should taxpayers shoulder the financial burden? Can the Klamath reclaim its place as one of the most important rivers in the West?
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