Frequently Asked Questions

Click the following questions to find the answers.

Q. What is the Secretarial Determination?
A. The KHSA calls on the Secretary of the Interior to undertake a thorough scientific review of existing science, data and other information so he can be fully informed of the potential costs, benefits and liabilities associated with removing four Klamath River dams. The Secretary must determine whether, in his judgment, removal of the dams: (1) will advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath Basin; and 2) is in the public interest.
Q. How will the Secretary go about addressing the dam removal question?
A. To support this process, a multi-agency team of federal and state experts is assembling existing science and preparing additional studies to fill essential data gaps. In addition, the federal government and State of California will develop an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) on the KBRA, KHSA and the Secretarial Determination.
Q. Specifically, what issues will be addressed in the Secretarial Determination?
A. To ensure that the Secretary is fully informed when determining whether (1) dam removal will advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath Basin; and 2) dam removal is in the public interest, the team of state and federal scientists will concentrate its efforts in the following areas: engineering; sediment composition; fate and transport; water quality; fisheries; economics; and, liability and risk management.

At a minimum, the Secretarial Determination, per Appendix I in the KHSA, will address the following: cost estimate of Facilities Removal; identification and management of risks and of foreseeable liabilities associated with Facilities Removal; environmental effects of Facilities Removal; impacts on local and Tribal communities; and an economic analysis.

This scientific evaluation will be published as the “Secretarial Determination Overview Report,” and will inform the Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report in compliance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Q. Is this process open and transparent? Can the public participate?
A. Yes, this process will follow President Obama’s statement on scientific integrity for executive branch agencies. There are a number of opportunities for the public to become engaged in the Secretarial Determination on Klamath River dam removal (see below under question 13). In addition, the Department of the Interior is sponsoring a dedicated website – www.klamathrestoration.gov – which can be used by the public to stay informed on the various issues like ongoing science studies, data collection efforts and upcoming public engagement opportunities. In addition, the website will allow the public to submit comments on the environmental documents prepared for the Secretarial Determination.