[env-trinity] Huffman lauds court decision to release Trinity water to help prevent Klamath fish kill

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Fri Aug 23 09:35:35 PDT 2013

For Immediate Release                      
August 22, 2013 Contact: Paul Arden
Huffman lauds court decision to release Trinity water to help prevent Klamath fish kill
Urges Interior Department to act quickly, address Humboldt County’s water share
San Rafael, California— Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) welcomed the decision by a U.S. District Court judge today to allow the release of water from Trinity Reservoir to the Lower Klamath River to reduce the chances of a devastating fish kill. Huffman, who represents the North Coast of California in Congress, remains concerned that a temporary restraining order obtained by Central Valley irrigators in the case may mean cold, clear water will not reach the Klamath in time to protect a large run of Chinook salmon from succumbing to disease.
“The legal squabbling over water that does not even belong to Central Valley irrigators forced a delay that could prove deadly to salmon migrating into the Klamath,” Huffman said. “I encourage the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to move swiftly in implementing its planned releases.”
Westlands Water District and San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority sued when Reclamation proposed releasing Trinity water to relieve stressful conditions in the lower Klamath River for an estimated 272,000 returning Chinook salmon. Reclamation had ordered special fall releases three other times in the past decade, after the catastrophic fish kill of 2002. That event killed 68,000 Chinook before they could spawn, and was behind the federal fisheries disaster of 2006.
Huffman said that this year’s crisis could have been averted had Reclamation made a long overdue decision on whether to grant Humboldt County and downstream users the use of 50,000 acre feet of water promised in legislation that authorized the diversion of Trinity water to the Sacramento River. Huffman said his request for the decision has been ignored, as have previous requests by other members of Congress, Humboldt County, and tribes.
“Resolving that issue would have given Reclamation a clear authority to release water to help struggling Klamath fish instead of becoming hung up in legal limbo,” Huffman said. “I just hope the irrigators’ lawsuit doesn’t mean a repeat of the disaster of 2002.”

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