[env-trinity] Eureka Times Standard June 28
bwl3 at comcast.net
Tue Jun 28 20:55:04 PDT 2005
Make your own assessment. Use of Trinity water for this purpose was opposed
emphatically following the initial Bureau and Fish & Wildlife thrust a few
Feds buying Trinity water for Klamath again
By John Driscoll
The Times-Standard Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The federal government is spending $618,000 to buy Trinity River water as an
insurance policy against a fish kill on the Klamath River.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expects to sign an agreement soon with a
slate of contractors it identified as the Sacramento River Exchange Group.
It would buy 20,000 acre feet -- 6.5 billion gallons -- for about $30 an
"We've isolated a hunk of water and we've got a handshake," said bureau
spokesman Jeff McCracken.
A subcommittee of the Trinity Management Council will meet this week to
determine what would trigger the release this fall. The size of the salmon
run, the flows in the lower river, and the incidence of disease will all be
In 2002, up to 68,000 adult chinook salmon died of stress-related diseases
in the lower river. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found low, warm water
during a relatively large run was at the heart of the devastating fish kill.
This year on the Klamath is considered a below-average year, and there is
concern that low flows scheduled in August and September could endanger the
The Trinity water can't be carried over until next year if it isn't needed,
McCracken said, creating a use-it-or-lose-it situation. If it isn't used,
the bureau would try to sell it to irrigators in the Central Valley Project,
but probably at a loss, he said.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has repeatedly rejected requests to
allow water promised to Humboldt County to be used for the same purpose. The
county was pledged 50,000 acre feet before the Trinity River's dams and
diversion were constructed.
"Given the fact that Humboldt County is willing to donate its water it
doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to pay $600,000 for something the bureau
could get for free," said Tom Stokely, a senior planner for neighboring
The bureau has also spent millions in recent years -- $7 million this year
-- on a program to buy water from farmers in the Upper Klamath Basin and
send it downstream during the spring for young salmon. Prior to 2002, as
many as 200,000 juvenile salmon died of diseases in the river. This year,
100,000 acre feet is being sent
down the Klamath as part of the water bank.
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
Consultant, California Trout, Inc.
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 ph
415 383 9562 fx
bwl3 at comcast.net
bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org (secondary)
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