WASHINGTON - The Department of the Interior today publicly released the results from an independent peer review panel that evaluated the accuracy, clarity, thoroughness, and objectivity of the scientific findings in the draft Klamath Overview Report. The panel's detailed findings and recommendations will help inform the rigorous and transparent scientific process concerning the potential removal of four privately owned dams on the Klamath River.
The peer review panel found generally that the report “connects to the sound science that underlies its conclusions, provides a depth of coverage suitable for the anticipated audience, and provides clearly stated concepts and conclusions,” and further finds that the “science appears to be reliable for a Secretarial Determination.” The panel also makes recommendations for how the final report can be edited to improve its effectiveness.
The peer-review report and its recommendations are available at www.KlamathRestoration.gov.
“These peer review recommendations will make for a more robust and effective report. That is exactly what is wanted out of a peer review process - a better science product, along with increased public confidence in the findings that come from our analyses,” stated Dennis Lynch, the U.S. Geological Survey Program Manager overseeing the science process for the Klamath Secretarial Determination.
The draft Klamath Overview Report, initially released January 2012, is one part of the overall multi-step science process for the Klamath Secretarial Determination. One step was the development of 50 federal science reports - all of which were subjected to a rigorous review, including, in many instances, peer review - completed in September 2011. Over 150 federal, state, and other subject-matter scientists, engineers, and technical experts were involved in conducting the studies and preparing the federal science reports.
A second step involved four independent expert panel reports on Klamath River fisheries that were published between January and July 2011. These expert panels, which were administered by Atkins North America, an independent consulting firm specializing in peer reviews, conducted their own assessment of the potential impacts of dam removal on the Klamath River fisheries.
The final step is the preparation of the draft Klamath Overview Report, which for the first time combines the findings and analyses of the 50 federal science reports and the four expert panel reports with other relevant reports, to provide a comprehensive scientific assessment of potential dam removal and implementation of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement on local communities, Indian Tribes, and the environment.
Facilitated by Atkins North America, a panel of six independent subject-matter experts from across the nation conducted the peer review of the draft Klamath Overview Report being released today.
Over the next few months, the federal agencies will finalize the Overview Report, taking into account the recommendations from the peer review panel. The Overview Report will provide foundational scientific information to inform a Secretarial Determination as to whether dam removal would advance salmon and steelhead fisheries in the basin and would be in the public interest.
The final Overview Report, the public comments, the panel peer review report and responses to all the peer review comments on the draft Overview Report will be available at www.KlamathRestoration.gov.