[env-trinity] Klamath Herald and News

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Tue Jun 4 11:27:28 PDT 2013

Lower Klamath River tribal challenges

Submitted photo

Karuk tribe

Karuk Tribe members show their support for dam removal during a meeting in Yreka, October 2011. The Tribe has filed a challenge against PacifiCorp water quality improvements undergone before settlement agreements are passed legislatively or expire at the end of 2014.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 11:45 pm


The Karuk Tribe filed a challenge against the power utility operating Klamath River hydroelectric dams. It takes issue with PacifiCorp’s water quality improvements undergone as an interim measure before the settlement agreements are passed legislatively or expired at the end of 2014.

In particular, PacifiCorp’s use of algaecides in Klamath River reservoirs is questioned. Craig Tucker, Klamath coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, said the actions are ineffective, prohibitively expensive and will wash downstream during tribal renewal ceremonies in August.

“It’s sacrilegious, like fumigating the Sistine Chapel during Mass,” Tucker explained. During the ceremonies, Yurok elder Jene McCovey said the tribes “send the bad out to the universe … we rebuild the world.”

A similar charge was leveled by the Yurok Tribe against the Oregon Water Resources Department, which administers the Klamath River Basin Adjudication.

The tribe argues that the Endangered Species Act is not being properly taken into account by the agency’s operations.

John Corbett, senior attorney for the Yuroks, wrote that they are “greatly concerned that the Oregon Water Resources Department is acting inconsistent with the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, denying the Yurok Tribe the bargained-for benefits of the agreement.

“The Yurok Tribe seeks active participation in Klamath River water management and assurances as to in-stream water to meet Endangered Species Act requirements and to protect anadromous fish species,” Corbett said.

Given these disputes, PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely pointed out how the settlements provide a way for parties to resolve disputes among themselves when they come up within the settlements.

“It’s a process for parties to address concerns outside of the courtroom,” Gravely said.

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