[env-trinity] SF Chronicle March 20

Emelia Berol emelia at trailofwater.com
Mon Mar 20 10:28:18 PST 2006


What "long drought" is this article referring to?  Writer should have  
been clearer that it was in the upper basin   .. it's  
misleading...       Certainly not in the  lower Klamath or Trinity  
basin ...  there has not been a drought here since the drought of the  
late 80's / early 90's ...

maybe the writer is referring to the drought of compassion ...

emelia

On Mar 20, 2006, at 10:10 AM, Byron wrote:

Where are the Klamath salmon?

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial
Monday, March 20, 2006

GOT SALMON? Come next month, federal rule-makers may so restrict fish- 
catching off Northern California that the season will all but end.

The reason is diminishing population of the migrating fish on the  
Klamath River. Farm diversions, dams and a long drought have reduced  
river flows, decimating salmon schools stuck in warm, unhealthy pools  
along the North Coast river. For several years, the numbers have  
dipped below a 35,000-fish-count judged minimal to perpetuate chinook  
salmon.

The water-quality problem isn't much in doubt, not after federal  
studies and a review by the National Academy of Sciences. The hard  
part is coming up with a solution that will revive salmon runs.

One painful step will begin in April. A federal fishery agency will  
likely recommend a reduced salmon season that will drop from a half  
to a quarter of last year's catch. Though salmon pour into the  
Pacific from many rivers, the silvery schools are impossible to tell  
apart -- hence the need to limit all fishing to save a sub-species  
reared in just one watershed.

But stopping fishing, by itself, won't fill the Klamath with future  
generations of fish. If boat owners, deck hands and their orbit of  
wharf-side businesses endure hardship, there should be a response by  
the federal government that can do much to repair the larger problem  
of a sick river.

For years, upstream farmers in eastern California and southern Oregon  
have held off calls for change. The salmon will come back after a bad  
patch, this group says in defending their historic water rights. But  
that's a delusional position, given the weak fish numbers. Farm  
runoff is tainting the water. Dams warm the water flows to fish- 
killing temperatures.

Change can only come if there is concerted pressure on Washington to  
negotiate a compromise to a complicated, multisided problem. U.S.  
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, have shown an  
interest in the problem and should push for a solution.

For starters, the Department of Commerce, which sets fishing catches,  
needs to press the Department of Interior, which watches over crucial  
water flows. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also has a role  
because it is relicensing four dams on the Klamath River's upper end.

Finding the money for these changes won't be easy. Washington has  
little to spare with the Iraq war, a Katrina fix-up and a deficit  
hitting $400 billion this year. But doing nothing means fewer salmon,  
ever-shorter fishing seasons and angrier participants from all sides.

The prospects aren't hopeless. Sinking numbers of salmon along the  
Sacramento River, the state's biggest fish-nursery waterway, have  
shot up, thanks to better management and water conditions. That's a  
fish story worth repeating.





Byron Leydecker

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

Advisor, 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

http://www.fotr.org

http:www.caltrout.org





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