[env-trinity] BDCP press release: Northern County and Tribe Warn; Governor’s Plan Could Take County’s Trinity Water

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Fri Apr 12 15:34:37 PDT 2013

Begin forwarded message:

From: Regina Chichizola <klamathrights at gmail.com>
Date: April 12, 2013 3:17:07 PM PDT

      Humboldt County          Hoopa Valley Tribe

Press Release

For immediate release: April 12, 2012



Ryan Sundberg, Humboldt County Supervisor 707 599-6382

Leonard Masten, Jr., Hoopa Valley Tribe 530 739-2892

Regina Chichizola, Hoopa Valley Tribe541 951-0126


Northern County and Tribe Warn; Governor’s Plan Could Take County’s Trinity Water

Humboldt County says Interior Needs to Act to Protect Their Water Right


Eureka, CA- A Northern California county and Indian tribe are warning that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and the Governor’s tunnel proposal are overlooking North Coast California communities’ long-standing water rights to the Trinity River, and therefore overestimating water availability.


“The Trinity River is vitally important to the North Coast economy,” stated Humboldt County supervisor Ryan Sundberg. “If the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and state agencies don’t make the decision to uphold our long-established right to Trinity River water, what confidence can other Californians have that their rights will be honored in the BDCP process?” He went on to say Humboldt County is expecting a decision from the Department of Interior regarding its water right and this could upset the BDCP process if the county water is not considered in modeling.


The Trinity River is the only out of basin water supply diverted into the Central Valley. It is the largest tributary to the Klamath River; it flows though the Hoopa Valley Reservation and Humboldt County.


In 1964, the BOR, which is managed by the Department of Interior, began delivering Trinity River water to the Central Valley through tunnels. Federal and state law limited those deliveries by setting aside water for fisheries and making available an additional 50,000 acre-feet supply for economic development by Humboldt County and other users. Thus far, the BOR has failed to honor this water right, and only recently began to honor fisheries commitments through implementation of the 2000 Trinity River Record of Decision.


Humboldt County and the Hoopa Valley Tribe have repeatedly warned the Governor and BDCP planners that it is a mistake to assume that 50,000 acre-feet of Humboldt’s Trinity water is available even though federal and state lawmakers allocated it to the North Coast nearly 60 years ago. The county and the tribe have been in discussions with Interior and they are expecting a decision that upholds Humboldt’s water right. Last July, Interior said it would confer with them before any decision is made, but so far there has been only silence.


The Hoopa Valley Tribe, which depends on salmon for sustenance, says it is worried because Reclamation has stated inadequate fishery water supplies in the Klamath River basin have become the new norm. That means heightened risk of conflict over competing uses due to the fact the salmon are increasingly depending on Trinity flows.


“Ours is not a speculative concern.” stated Leonard Masten of the Hoopa Valley Tribe “Last year federal, state, and tribal fishery agencies forecasted a potentially devastating fish kill in the Klamath River because of low Klamath basin water supplies and a record-high population of returning fall Chinook. Reclamation took action and set aside 92,000 acre-feet of Trinity River Division water and released nearly 39,000 acre-feet of additional water to avoid a disaster.”


This year another record return of fish is forecasted and already government agencies, such as the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, are considering asking for similar action. Humboldt County has stated they are willing to use their water right to protect Klamath River fisheries.


“In the course of the last half-century, Humboldt County and the Hoopa Valley Tribe have stood fast for our rights and interests,” stated Supervisor Sundburg. “We all have a right and responsibility to protect this precious resource, and urge all Californians to oppose any form of a BDCP that takes more of our water. We also urge Interior to act to resolve this issue.”


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