[env-trinity] Eureka Times Standard and Santa Rose Press Democrat on Klamath Fisheries

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jul 12 09:59:52 PDT 2007


Klamath volunteers carve paths to cold streams for salmon

Eureka Times Standard - 7/12/07

By John Driscoll, staff writer


The Klamath River is getting hot -- killer hot, especially for young salmon
that have struggled for years to survive diseases that set in during the


A group of Orleans area volunteers, nonprofit organizations, public agencies
and the Karuk Tribe have moved rock and gravel from the mouths of creeks on
the middle Klamath River in a stop-gap effort to open up cold-water refuges
for the little fish. 


Last week, for example, volunteers working with the Mid Klamath Watershed
Council wielded shovels to create passages between Ti and Stanshaw creeks
and the Klamath. 


The work is not the solution to the many problems fish face on the Klamath,
said Sandi Tripp, director of natural resources for the Karuk Tribe. But
it's critical, she said, especially for threatened coho salmon that spend
lots of time in the river before migrating to sea. 


"It's truly a killing zone for the fish out there in the river," Tripp said.
"The only saving grace is to open small tributaries." 


As flows have dropped from Iron Gate Dam, and air temperatures have risen,
parts of the river are now peaking at above 76 degrees. Small, cold
tributaries that run though forests and are fed by springs and seeps can be
10 degrees cooler than that, providing significant relief for little fish. 


"Any fish that decides to go up there has a whole lot better chance of
survival than staying in the river," said Gary Flosi, senior biologist for
the California Department of Fish and Game. 


Coho and chinook salmon and steelhead use the refuges until the tributaries
and the rivers begin to swell with fall rains. The initial work to create
the makeshift passages for fish was experimental, Flosi said, but over time
it was clear that the cool-water sanctuaries at the mouths of creeks were
more important than first realized. 


Flosi, too, said the work is not a long-term solution, but may be one of the
few viable options to protect young salmon while solutions to the complex
problems of the Klamath are hashed out among the varied stakeholders in the


Other projects bring in Caltrans, Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service.
Fish-blocking culverts are targeted for replacement, and road work is done
to prevent landslides from clogging creeks. 


The volunteer efforts to do the work at the creek mouths have gained
momentum in recent years. People in the mid-Klamath region are more and more
bound together by river restoration projects -- something everyone can agree
on, said Nancy Bailey, a project coordinator for the Mid Klamath Watershed


"More and more people are understanding the critical nature of the creeks,"
Bailey said. 


Editorial: Cheney link?; Thompson offers new motive for Klamath River fish

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - 7/12/07


In the death of 68,000 Chinook salmon in 2002, it's not news that the Bush
administration sided with Oregon ranchers to the detriment of the Klamath
River fishery and North Coast fisherman. Until last month, however, no one
connected the fish kill to Vice President Dick Cheney. The Washington Post
reported that the largest loss of salmon in the history of the Western U.S.
may be linked to the vice president's efforts to gain favor with Republican
farmers in Oregon. 

The impact of that Post story wasn't lost on Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St.
Helena, who has been fighting for federal support for the fishery and for
relief for salmon fishermen who suffered when the 2006 salmon season was

Politics begets politics. Thompson is a Democrat eager to embarrass a
Republican administration.

As his approval ratings tumble, the secretive vice president represents the
almost perfect villain.

Still, a House investigation into Cheney's role will be welcome. Americans
have a right to know if environmental rules and the economic interests of
Californians were discounted because the vice president thought gaining
political advantage in Oregon was more important.



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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