[env-trinity] Clear Connections of KHSA/KBRA and Klamath Toxic Algae Problem

Patrick Higgins phiggins at humboldt1.com
Mon Jun 17 07:15:12 PDT 2013

Hi Glen,

See you are still pushing the Klamath Settlement "party line", but 
Nature may expose major flaws in the agreement this year. I am attaching 
two lower Klamath River flow charts from Iron Gate Dam that reflect the 
Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).  The first is from October 
2012 to the present and the second from March 1 to present with the 52 
year average reflecting post-Iron Gate construction historic data.  The 
flat lining far below the recent average to fill Upper Klamath Lake as a 
priority for Klamath Basin Water Users (KBWU) security is slowing the 
transit time of water through the Klamath Hydroelectric Project (KHP) 
reservoirs and thus heightening the risk of toxic algae.  There is a 
clear connection of the Klamath Settlement to the flow regime and; 
therefore, the toxic algae problem.

Similar flow conditions prompted an early outbreak and PacifiCorp's 
strident "test" spraying of Microcystis blooms last July, which they did 
without a 401 permit.  PCorp said they had blanket coverage under the 
Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and didn't need Clean 
Water Act clearance from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control 
Board (NCRWQCB).  It would have been difficult for the NCRWQCB staff to 
justify spraying algicides because such action is known to cause release 
of toxins as cell walls break down.  Welcome to the Brave New World of 
the Klamath Settlement, where the corporation has license to do whatever 
it wants.

Also Glen, the spring "pulse flows" in the KBRA that were supposed to be 
worked out in the Drought Plan were never defined and didn't happen this 
year.  Last year there was a big fanfare about the pulse flow of 5000 
cfs and what a great thing the KBRA was.  No pulse flow this year after 
flat-lining all winter means extreme risk of and outbreak of the deadly 
fish disease Ceratomyxa shasta below the dams because of benthic algae 
(Cladophera) build up, which is accompanied by high populations of an 
intermediate host polychaete (Manayunkia speciosa).  As the Klamath 
River drops and warms, millions of C shasta spores will likely be 
released, jeopardizing what should be a huge wave of juvenile Chinook.  
By the way, the flow levels depart dramatically from the National Marine 
Fisheries Service's Biological Opinion for coho salmon. In addition, the 
last of Tule Lake suckers will be shipped to Upper Klamath Lake this 
year as part of Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Project Operations.  
Welcome to the Brave New World of the KBRA where we line the bird cage 
with the Endangered Species Act (and CESA).

Nature bats last Glen, and the flows of the Klamath River need to go 
back more toward their historic norm and we need to reclaim marshes to 
restore the ecological balance and get the ecosystem service of clean 
water.  Water quality is actually more important than flow and the 
strangle hold the KBWU have on the Refuges under the KBRA is blocking 
their use for water storage and filtration, which is killing the river.

By the way, please quit misrepresenting the State Water Resources 
Control Board 401 process.  The toxic conditions within the KHP 
reservoirs would prevent them from issuing a 401 Certification, which 
along with the fish ladders mandated by NMFS, essentially form a 
checkmate for PacifiCorp on their license.  Time to go back to FERC.


Pat Higgins

PS: By the way, would love to have a refereed public debate on this 
sometime.  Call me if you'd like to arrange.

Patrick Higgins
Consulting Fisheries Biologist
791 Eighth Street, Suite A
Arcata, CA 95521
W 707 822-9428
H 707 839-4987

On 6/15/2013 2:33 PM, FISH1IFR at aol.com wrote:
> Colleagues....
> Please do NOT repost the Hoopa Valley Tribe's anti-algaecide Petition 
> below. Anyone considering signing it should read it _very carefully_ 
> and also understand that the Petition is to some degree merely a ruse 
> perpetuated by an employee of the Hoopa Valley Tribe to gather 
> opposition against the Klamath Settlement Agreements. In that respect, 
> the Petition is somewhat of a Trojan Horse, cleverly riding the 
> algaecide issue for very different purposes, and has drifted far from 
> the point of opposing the use of algaecides in the river.
> *The Petition is, in fact, highly deceptive!*
> **
> Unfortunately, the Petition is far more about the Hoopa Valley Tribe's 
> efforts to gather support for its unique position _in opposition to 
> the Klamath Settlement Agreements_ than it is about the algaecide 
> issue. The Petition insists, for instance, that it is "time for 
> PacifiCorps to move forward with needed Clean Water Act certification" 
> in its pending Application before the California State Water Board. 
> What the Hoopa Valley Tribe does not tell you, though, is that the 
> current Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Application is NOT 
> FOR DAM REMOVAL, it is for FULL DAM RELICENSING. And this Application 
> has _nothing whatsoever_ to do with the experimental use of algaecides 
> -- which the Regional Water Board approved.
> Moving even one more step forward toward Klamath dam relicensing makes 
> no sense, given that PacifiCorp and nearly every other Klamath Basin 
> major stakeholder (_except_ the Hoopa Valley Tribe) is working 
> diligently through the Klamath Settlement Agreements to remove these 
> dams by 2020, not to relicense them! The pending 401 Relicensing 
> Application process is suspended while Settlement Agreement efforts 
> toward dam removal are being worked on. Forcing PacifiCorp and the 
> Water Board to instead move forward with the current 401 Certification 
> process for relicensing is merely a devious way to try to sabotage the 
> KIamath Settlement Agreement, which the Hoopa Valley Tribe has 
> short-sightedly pledge itself to doing. The end result of such a 
> process will only be years of tangled and expensive litigation, /and 
> may even be partial or total relicensing!/
> //
> In short, this current Petition is /highly deceptive/, only 
> peripherally about algaecides, is based on a number of /false 
> assumptions/, and unfortunately has little to do, in the body of the 
> Petition, with what it is purported to be all about.
> Most people in the basin, including myself, strongly oppose more use 
> of algaecides in the river and would sign a Petition that was _only 
> _about that issue in a heartbeat. But deceptively using this one 
> "hot-button issue" as a ruse to sabotage a Settlement Agreement that 
> the Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Klamath Tribes, Humboldt County and more 
> than 40 other major Klamath Basin stakeholder groups have agreed to -- 
> and which represents the most certain way to get these four dams down 
> within the shortest period of time --/does everyone a great 
> disservice! / Its authors should be ashamed of themselves!
> =============================================
> Glen H. Spain, NW Regional Director
> Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA)
> PO Box 11170, Eugene, OR 97440-3370
> O:(541)689-2000 -- Fax:(541)689-2500
> Email: fish1ifr at aol.com
> Home Page: www.pcffa.org <http://www.pcffa.org/>
> In a message dated 6/14/2013 12:17:53 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, 
> windhorse at jeffnet.org writes:
>     *How about puting the petition on line?*
>     *Lots more would sign!*
>     *Jim*
>     Visit our Websites:
>     www.CarpenterDesign.com <http://www.carpenterdesign.com/>
>     www.BirdingandBoating.com <http://www.birdingandboating.com/>
>     541 885 5450
>         ----- Original Message -----
>         *From:* Tom Stokely <mailto:tstokely at att.net>
>         *To:* env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
>         <mailto:env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us>
>         *Sent:* Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:17 AM
>         *Subject:* [env-trinity] Redding.com: Tribes,Pacificorp at
>         odds over algae in Klamath River
>         http://www.redding.com/news/2013/jun/12/tribes-pacificorp-at-odds-over-algae-in-klamath/
>           Tribes, Pacificorp at odds over algae in Klamath River
>           * By Alayna Shulman
>             <http://www.redding.com/staff/alayna-shulman/>
>           * Posted June 12, 2013 at 6 p.m.
>         http://www.redding.com/photos/2013/jun/12/81352/
>         <http://www.redding.com/photos/2013/jun/12/81352/>
>         This Aug. 21, 2009, photo shows water trickling over an
>         algae-covered spillway at Copco 1 Dam on the Klamath River
>         outside Hornbrook. Regional Indian tribes are at odds with
>         PacifiCorp over a plan to kill toxic algae blooms in the
>         Klamath River that critics say could cause a whole other
>         pollution problem in the Northern California waterway.
>         Local tribes are at odds with PacifiCorp over a plan to kill
>         toxic algae blooms in the Klamath River that critics say could
>         cause a whole new pollution problem in the
>         already-controversial waterway.
>         A petition to stop the electricity giant's plan to kill algae
>         in the Siskiyou County river with hydrogen peroxide-based
>         "GreenClean Liquid" picked up some 2,000 signatures in its
>         first week, said Regina Chichizola, a Hoopa Valley tribe
>         member who started the protest drive.
>         Chichizola said she questions PacifiCorp's study from its
>         pilot run of the algae program that killing the blooms with
>         the substance doesn't produce harmful amounts of microcystin,
>         a naturally occurring toxin.
>         "I feel like this shouldn't be done on an experimental level,"
>         Chichizola said.
>         Toxins in the river are problematic for both fishers and other
>         recreation fans as well as local tribes, Chichizola said,
>         since they use the waterway for sacred ceremonies.
>         But PacifiCorp says it's "inconceivable" the plan would cause
>         any toxicity problems.
>         "We think it's, frankly, irresponsible to be raising public
>         health concerns over something that is inconceivable --- that
>         this would cause health problems down river, in the reservoir,
>         anywhere," said Bob Gravely, a spokesman for the company.
>         Meanwhile, the Karuk Tribe has entered into a conflict
>         resolution process with PacifiCorp over the plan, hoping to
>         find a civil way to ease concerns it could prove toxic.
>         "We feel confident we're going to work through this with
>         PacifiCorp," said Craig Tucker, tribe spokesman.
>         The Karuk Tribe even sent an in-depth letter to PacifiCorp
>         rejecting some of the analysis from the 2012 study based on
>         what time of day it occurred and the depth of the water, both
>         of which can affect results, a water expert for the tribe said.
>         While Tucker said the data from a pilot project last year is
>         up for interpretation, it's still concerning that the plan
>         includes unnatural substances.
>         "It's a tough pill for tribal communities to swallow
>         because...chemicals are inconsistent with tribal cultural
>         beliefs," he said.
>         Gravely pointed out that the 2012 study results indicated that
>         microcystin wasn't a problem. This year's study would include
>         a screen so that a more isolated pocket of water could be
>         treated without being diluted, he said.
>         Nonetheless, Clayton Creager, senior scientist for the North
>         Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, said the board has
>         some worries as well and is examining the permit that allows
>         PacifiCorp to use the algae-killer.
>         "We're evaluating the status of their current permit," he
>         said. "It's because we have specific concerns and we've
>         received lots of complaints."
>         The U.S. Department of the Interior recommended in April that
>         four dams on the river be torn down to protect local tribes
>         and fish species, and Chichizola said that's a safe way to
>         prevent algae, since much of it originates from the dams.
>         In 2010, Indian tribes, farmers, salmon fishermen and
>         conservation groups signed historic agreements calling for
>         sharing water in dry years and the removal of the four dams to
>         open up hundreds of miles of salmon habitat shut off for a
>         century. PacifiCorp, which owns the dams, agreed to the
>         removal rather than pay millions of dollars for fish ladders
>         and other improvements.
>         In addition to raising concerns over the algaecide plan,
>         Chichizola blasted PacifiCorp for not soliciting public
>         comment on the plan, despite its significance to the public.
>         "We're concerned mainly with the people who are using the
>         river, and we're concerned with the complete lawlessness
>         around this action," Chichizola said, saying the plan has
>         turned the Klamath into a "corporately controlled river."
>         But Gravely said his company notified Siskiyou County
>         officials and also ran a notice in a local newspaper.
>         "This has all been done as part of a very public process, and
>         in accordance with every regulation that applies to it," he
>         said. "I don't know exactly what they're saying didn't happen
>         or wanted to happen...we made our required notices. We feel
>         like we have a responsibility to address these issues."
>         ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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