[env-trinity] Karuk Tribe Press Release
danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Thu Jan 12 21:58:44 PST 2006
> K a r u k T r i b e o f C a l i f o r n i a
> P R E S S R E L E A S E
> For Immediate Release: January 5, 2006
> For more information:
> Craig Tucker, Klamath Campaign Coordinator 530-627-3446 x 3027
> ctucker at karuk.us
> Minor Restrictions on Suction Dredge Mining Could be a Major Boost
> for Salmon Recovery Efforts
> Happy Camp, CA An agreement between the Karuk Tribe and
> California Fish and Game proposes minor restrictions on
> recreational suction dredge mining that will pay big dividends for
> salmon recovery efforts. By selectively protecting the best
> remaining cold water sources used by young salmon at certain times
> of year, the agreement will aid salmon recovery efforts while still
> allowing for recreational suction dredge mining. Panning for gold
> will not be affected by the agreement.
> This should not be interpreted as Indian versus miner issue. This
> is a win-win for the entire river community since we all depend on
> a healthy fishery. Miners still have over 255 of miles of river
> open to them yet the most critical cold water habitats will be
> protected, according to Sandi Tripp, Natural Resources Director
> for the Karuk Tribe.
> The agreement stems from a complaint filed by the Karuk Tribe
> earlier this year charging that California Fish and Game was
> failing to adequately protect fish from the negative impacts of
> suction dredge mining. In 1994, the agencys own Biological Opinion
> pertaining to suction dredge mining stated that the practice could
> jeopardize the continued existence of any threatened or endangered
> species or species of special concern. A year after the
> Biological Opinion was adopted the State of California recognized
> Coho salmon, Pink salmon, Chum salmon, Green sturgeon, and Klamath
> River lamprey as species of special concern. In March of 2005,
> the state listed Coho as a Threatened Species under the California
> Endangered Species Act.
> According to Mrs. Tripp, despite the clear recognition that salmon
> and other fish species are in trouble, Fish and Game continued to
> allow suction dredging during spawning and migration. This
> agreement redresses the issue.
> Suction dredge mining is done recreationally throughout the Klamath
> Basin. The practice involves what is essentially a gas powered
> vacuum cleaner mounted on pontoons anchored in the river. The miner
> then swims along the bottom of the river vacuuming up river
> sediment which is run through a sluice box. Any gold would fall
> into the sluice box trap and the rest of the sediment is simply
> dumped back into the river. Depending on location, dredge size and
> density large areas of the stream bottom can be negatively impacted
> by this recreational activity. The practice harms fish by
> suctioning up and killing salmon eggs and frye, modifying the
> streambed, and degrading water quality.
> The overall impacts to miners will be minimal, but the benefit to
> the fishery and the local economies that depend on the fishery will
> be huge, according to Tripp.
> Efforts to protect Klamath salmon have intensified since the fish
> kill of 2002 where over 68,000 adult salmon died before spawning.
> Agencies cited low flows and warm water temperatures as the cause
> of the kill. We are focused on identifying and protecting the most
> important cold water areas and the change in mining rules would be
> step in that direction, according to Tripp.
> The Karuk Tribe hopes that by taking measures to protect critical
> fish habitat that there will not be any future ESA listings of fish
> and that species such as Coho can one day be de-listed. According
> to Karuk Vice-Chairman Leaf Hillman, Indians dont want fish on
> the Endangered Species List, we want them in our smoke houses.
> # # #
> For recent press releases and addition information regarding the
> Karuk Tribe visit www.Karuk.us
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