[env-trinity] Klamath and Trinity River Implications

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Jul 11 09:51:54 PDT 2007


Feds release Klamath coho recovery plan

Eureka Times Standard - 7/11/07

By John Driscoll, staff writer


The federal government has finished a plan to restore flagging populations
of coho salmon in the Klamath River, calling bypassing barriers and
completing restoration of its main tributary top priorities. 


The National Marine Fisheries Service plan is based largely on a massive
plan developed in 2002 by the California Department of Fish and Game. 


The plan calls for incentives for private landowners and water users to help
restore the threatened fish's access to tributaries and help boost flows to
the Klamath. It also calls for improving forestry practices and road
building and maintenance activities that degrade spawning habitat. And it
deems completing the ongoing restoration of the Trinity River as key to
boosting coho stocks. 


"Using up-to-date scientific information, this recovery plan provides
prioritized actions for restoring coho salmon in the Klamath Basin," said
fisheries service South West Region Administrator Rod McInnis in a news
release. "But one thing is clear; coho recovery can best be accomplished
through the formation of effective conservation partnerships among the
diverse communities and interests to solve the many natural resource issues
facing the Klamath River Basin." 


The coho salmon is particularly susceptible to poor conditions found in the
Klamath River basin, since it spends longer periods in freshwater than its
cousin, the chinook salmon. Early information from canneries suggests that
hundreds of thousands of coho once ran up the river each year, according to
the plan. But by the early 1980s, fewer than 20,000 made the run. 


Fish cannot reach spawning grounds above the lowermost of several dams, Iron
Gate, and the river is particularly low and warm during dry years. Diseases
are rampant, especially in juvenile salmon. 


Commercial and sport fishing for coho in California is off limits and in
1997, the fisheries service listed the population of coho in southern Oregon
and Northern California as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The
2007 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Reauthorization Act called for the fisheries service to complete
a recovery plan for coho in the Klamath in six months. 


The draft plan calls for a variety of restoration projects along with
disease and water quality monitoring. Removing skid trails and unneeded
roads and improving efficiency of irrigation systems are also among priority
projects listed. 


A copy of the recovery plan can be found at
http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/klamath/index.htm or


Editorial: If salmon could vote

San Francisco Chronicle - 7/11/07


WHEN precious Klamath River water was steered to farmers in 2002, it was a
convincing display of White House political muscle. Farmers in southern
Oregon vote, and salmon, who died by the thousands, don't. 


What's new in this tale of water manipulation is that Vice President Dick
Cheney may have pulled the levers, according to a Washington Post profile of
his anti-environmental record. The report has led 36 Democratic House
members in Oregon and California to call for a hearing. 


But demonizing Cheney for what ails the Klamath isn't enough. It's time that
this powerful posse of elected leaders, whose party rules Congress, do more.
The delegation should get together behind a plan that will assure steady
water flows needed by salmon to survive. 


One option is removing the four dams near the Oregon border. These dams
produce little electricity or downstream flood protection. Their chief
accomplishment is to barricade salmon from spawning beds, which now lie
under tons of silt. Taking out the dams and restoring the river would be a
huge task, but one answer to restoring salmon runs. 


The hearing could underline this directive because the federal licensing of
the four dams is up for renewal. One federal agency has mandated that costly
new fish ladders be built, a condition that could doom the structures. 


Congress could work on the other essentials needed to revive the Klamath:
timber-cut policies, development and water diversions needed by Oregon


The White House has done its part to wreck the Klamath. Now it's up to
Congress to move beyond this sad fact and begin the hard job of reviving a
seriously stressed river.



Byron Leydecker

Friends of Trinity River, Chair

California Trout, Inc., Advisor

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 

415 519 4810 cell

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org






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