Ar­royo to serve on Kla­math re­newal board

Times Standard (Eureka) - - FRONT PAGE - By Shomik Mukher­jee smukher­jee@times-stan­ @ShomikMukh­er­jee on Twit­ter

Eu­reka City Coun­cilmem­ber Natalie Ar­royo will serve as a board mem­ber for the or­ga­ni­za­tion head­ing the Kla­math River’s restora­tion, the gov­er­nor’s of­fice an­nounced Fri­day.

Ar­royo will be one of 15 board mem­bers serv­ing the Kla­math River Re­new­able Cor­po­ra­tion, a non­profit tasked with over­see­ing the re­moval of four Kla­math dams. She is one of five board mem­bers ap­pointed by the gov­er­nor.

First elected to the city coun­cil in 2014, Ar­royo cur­rently works as a se­nior plan­ner in nat­u­ral re­sources at the Red­wood Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Agency. In an in­ter­view Fri­day, she em­pha­sized her com­mit­ment to see­ing the Kla­math’s salmon fish­eries re­stored.

“It’s a mas­sive, mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject,” Ar­royo said of the dams’ re­moval.

“There are a lot of chal­lenges but a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties… The po­ten­tial pos­i­tive im­pact to our fish­eries could be very sig­nif­i­cant.”

The long­stand­ing ef­forts to re­move the dams took a step for­ward ear­lier this year when the pro­ject se­cured Kiewit In­fra­struc­ture West as its con­trac­tor.

The con­struc­tion com­pany is tar­get­ing the early months of 2022 for re­mov­ing the dams that scientists and indige­nous tribal mem­bers say have dev­as­tated the river’s fish pop­u­la­tions

and di­min­ished its wa­ter qual­ity.

“The time­line is brisk,” Ar­royo said. “To go through the pretty sig­nif­i­cant fed­eral reg­u­la­tory process to ac­quire the dams will be a chal­lenge.”

She noted that an­other dam re­moval pro­ject this decade — restora­tion of the El­wha River in the state of Wash­ing­ton — car­ried uncertaint­ies at the out­set but has been “pretty wildly suc­cess­ful.”

Kiewit is al­ready on the ground at the Kla­math River, con­duct­ing the

nec­es­sary de­sign and plan­ning work for the dams’ re­moval, said Kla­math Re­newal com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Matt Cox.

“I don’t think the pro­ject presents any enor­mous tech­ni­cal chal­lenges for (Kiewit),” Cox said. “It’s right in their wheel­house.”

For her part, Ar­royo wants to make sure the pro­ject prop­erly serves all the stake­hold­ers in­volved.

“As with any mas­sive en­gi­neer­ing in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject like this, it’s im­por­tant to do it right,” she said.

Ar­royo, 35, has served as a marine sci­ence tech­ni­cian in the U.S. Coast Guard Re­serves. She lec­tures in environmen­tal con­flict res­o­lu­tion at Hum­boldt State Univer­sity.

In 2018, she was elected to her third term on the Eu­reka city coun­cil, promis­ing strong eco­nomic devel­op­ment and pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture projects as she cap­tured 52% of the vote in a three-can­di­date race.


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