[env-trinity] Reclamation releases additional flows to stop Klamath River fish kill!

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Sat Aug 23 10:43:27 PDT 2014


http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/22/18760505.php
"We have determined that unprecedented conditions over the past few  
weeks in the lower Klamath River require us to take emergency measures  
to help reduce the potential for a large-scale fish die-off,” said Mid- 
Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “This decision was made based  
on science and after consultation with Tribes, water and power users,  
federal and state fish regulatory agencies, and others.”


800_westlands_sucks_the_t...
original image ( 5184x3456)

Reclamation releases additional flows to stop Klamath River fish kill!

by Dan bacher

After a big protest by the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes and  
their supporters at the Bureau of Reclamation offices in Sacramento on  
Tuesday, Reclamation announced Friday morning that it will release  
additional water from Trinity Reservoir to supplement flows in the  
lower Klamath River to help protect the returning run of adult Chinook  
salmon.

“We have determined that unprecedented conditions over the past few  
weeks in the lower Klamath River require us to take emergency measures  
to help reduce the potential for a large-scale fish die-off,” said Mid- 
Pacific Regional Director David Murillo in a news release and at a  
conference call this morning with reporters from throughout the state.  
“This decision was made based on science and after consultation with  
Tribes, water and power users, federal and state fish regulatory  
agencies, and others.”

Murillo said, "several recent factors prevalent in the lower Klamath  
River are the basis for the decision to provide emergency augmentation  
flows."

Reclamation will increase releases from Lewiston Dam beginning at 7  
a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, from approximately 450 cubic feet per  
second to approximately 950 cfs to achieve a flow rate of 2,500 cfs in  
the lower Klamath River.

At 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, releases from Lewiston Dam will begin  
increasing to approximately 2,450 cfs to achieve a flow rate of  
approximately 4,000 cfs in the lower Klamath River.

This release from Lewiston Dam will be maintained for approximately 24  
hours before returning to approximately 950 cfs and will be regulated  
at approximately that level as necessary to maintain lower Klamath  
River flows at 2,500 cfs until approximately Sunday, Sept. 14. River  
and fishery conditions will be continuously monitored, and those  
conditions will determine the duration.

“We fully recognize that during this prolonged severe drought, every  
acre-foot of water is extremely valuable, and we are making every  
effort to conserve water released for fish health purposes to reduce  
hardships wherever possible,” added Murillo.

Reclamation will continue to work with NOAA Fisheries and other  
federal agencies to comply with applicable provisions of the  
Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.The  
public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river  
while flows are high during this period.

There is no doubt that this decision would not have taken place  
without the big campaign by Klamath River Tribal activists and  
fishermen to stop a fish kill by urging the Bureau to release more  
water from Trinity Reservoir and Lewiston Dam. Congratulations go to  
everybody who made this possible!

Over 200 Tribal members and their allies from the Trinity and Klamath  
river watersheds held a four-hour protest at the Bureau of Reclamation  
offices in Sacramento on August 19 to urge them to release more water  
from upriver dams to stop a massive fish kill.

Members of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Karuk tribes, as well as  
leaders of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, displayed an array of signs and  
banners with slogans including “Fish Need Water,” “Let The River  
Flow,” "Give Us Our Water, " "Save The Salmon," "Tribal Rights Are Non  
Negotiable," "Release The Dam Water," "Undam the Klamath - Free the  
Trinity," "Fish Can't Swim In Money," and "Westlands Sucks The Trinity  
Dry."

"Thank you, all of the people that fight for the water/fish and our  
ways of life!" said Dania Colegrove, organizer for Got Water? and  
Hoopa Valley Tribal Member after hearing of the victory.

The Karuk Tribe issued a statement praising the Bureau's decision:

"The Karuk Tribal Council is extremely thrilled to announce the Bureau  
of Reclamation has announced they will be releasing additional water  
from the Trinity Reservoir to supplement flows in the Lower Klamath  
River. Flows will be released beginning on Saturday morning at 7 a.m.,  
causing a flow rate of approximately 2,500 cfs in the lower Klamath.

Hopefully the release of water is not too late, and it will prevent a  
major fish kill like we saw in 2002. Over 60,000 fall Chinook were  
lost in 2002, due to low flows and warm water temperatures which  
allowed disease and other trauma to negatively impact the fish.

The Tribal Council would like to personally thank all of the strong  
advocates for the fish and the rivers, including both the Trinity  
River and the Klamath River. Your dedication and commitment to  
grassroots activism coupled with strong science is what led to these  
vital releases of water. We are thankful for all of your prayers and  
we are grateful that your actions yielded positive results. During  
this time of ceremony and healing for the Tribe, our Tribal Members  
and communities should not have had to go to such great lengths to get  
results. We are glad that they are now able to relax for the moment  
and focus on strength and healing for our important ceremonies."

Corporate agribusiness leaders, including Dan Nelson, Executive  
Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, weren't  
happy with the release of water from Trinity Reservoir, claiming it  
was for "speculative fishery purposes," in a press release entitled,  
"Reclamation announces it will dump water while thousands stand in  
line for food handouts."

"Today, United States Bureau of Reclamation announced it will dump  
precious Central Valley Project water while the people of our valley  
suffer from well-documented and widely reported social and economic  
destruction as a result of government policies compounded by the  
drought," said Nelson. "While over 2,000,000 acres of farm land  
throughout the Central Valley, which produces over half of the  
nation's fruit, nuts and vegetables, continues to have a 0 percent  
water supply from the Central Valley Project, Reclamation has  
determined there is somehow enough water available to let it go down  
the Lower Klamath River in the hope it may help conditions for  
unthreatened salmon. This decision is wrong - both scientifically and  
morally."

It's ironic that agribusiness interests, who have imposed a system of  
institutional poverty on farmworkers on the west side of the San  
Joaquin Valley for many decades, are claiming "social and economic  
destruction" to be the "result of government policies compounded by  
the drought." For more information, see Lloyd Carter's 2010 article in  
the Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal: http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1033&context=gguelj

For more information about the Tuesday rally in Sacramento, go to: https://intercontinentalcry.org/tribal-members-rally-sacramento-stop-klamath-river-fish-kill-25355/
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