Removing four Klamath River dams would provide $14 billion in short- and long-term economic benefits, according to a draft economic analysis released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The study estimates the low-range net economic benefit of $14.1 billion over a 50-year period, even with losses that would result from the elimination of hydropower, whitewater boating and other recreational activities.

Public input on the report will be taken through Feb. 4. Copies are available online.

"Klamath Dam Removal Overview Report for the Secretary of the Interior: An Assessment of Science and Technical Information" was prepared as part of an ongoing process to provide Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar with information on whether to recommend removal of four Klamath River hydroelectric dams. A recommendation is expected this spring.

The dams are J.C. Boyle, Copco 1 and Copco 2, and Iron Gate.

The report says removing the dams and launching watershed-wide restoration programs could create jobs and strengthen local economies by improving fish populations, creating more recreation and commercial fishing opportunities, and increasing agricultural output.

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