I have been a proud Siskiyou County resident and business owner for more than 25 years. Like many of you, I want what's best for our region’s precious natural resources – our mountains, air and water. It’s why we chose to live, work and raise our families in this beautiful part of the state.

As a fly fisherman, I am especially connected to nature as I spend more than 100 days a year out on the Klamath River guiding fly-fishing adventures, giving scenic tours and sharing the great outdoors with people from all over the world. I started fishing Northern California streams and rivers as a child alongside my father, a fishing guide on the Feather River in Portola. It is with this experience that I plead for support to remove the lower Klamath dams.

Over the years, I have seen a dramatic decline in the Klamath River salmon populations. Once upon a time, our local rivers, streams and creeks rivaled the salmon runs in Alaska, with an abundance of Chinook (Kings), Coho (Silvers), Kokanee, Sockeye, Chums and Humpbacks. Now all we have left are the memories of this incredible local resource.

The Klamath dams are in their first 100 years of existence and their useful life is determined by just that, their usefulness. But there comes a point when we need to evaluate what we’re sacrificing and what we’re gaining in return.

Here’s what we know. The lower Klamath dams and reservoirs do not provide multipurpose water storage, flood protection, or irreplaceable energy. What they do provide are major barriers to fish migration, toxic blue-green algae and fish disease (C. shasta). The dwindling fish populations are proof. We must move forward with removing the dams and restoring the Klamath to the free-flowing river it once was.

Believe me, I do not take this lightly. My livelihood is at stake. During the dam removal process, my fishing guides and I will suffer from lost business for at least two years. However, that is a sacrifice we are willing to make as we want what's best for the Klamath River and the salmon who live in it, and we know our long-term future as guides will be so much better when the river is chock full of fish.

The salmon were here before me and I hope they will be here long after I am gone. This is our chance to show future generations how to honor our environment and our native salmon populations and the chance to make the Klamath River, once again, the best salmon river in California.