Tribes in Northern California protest federal water management

Tribal members held a protest outside of a Bureau of Reclamation meeting in Arcata, California, on August 5, 2015. Photo by Vivienna Orcutt

Members of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Yurok Tribe held a protest outside of a Bureau of Reclamation meeting in California on Wednesday, warning of another disastrous fish kill.

The BOR released a draft environmental assessment on Friday to address flows in the Klamath and Trinity rivers. But the tribes say the Interior Department isn't doing enough to protect salmon and their water rights.

“Another fish kill on the Klamath River would be devastating to North coast communities especially when Interior can still make the right choice and protect our culture and way of life," Hoopa Valley Chairman Ryan Jackson said in a press release. “Why are our people reduced to hauling dead fish from our river, instead of working with our trustees to prevent the disease that BOR’s operations cause?”

A young member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe investigates fish and water conditions. Photo by Vivienna Orcutt

The last major fish kill in the region left 68,000 salmon dead in 2002. Jackson told KRCR that he has already seen signs of a new disaster due to drought and poor water conditions.

"If you go over to the Klamath River, you can see it, you can smell it,” Jackson told the station. “The water over there is so polluted, you can't swim in it, you can't ingest it, and animals are at risk."

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-California) agreed that conditions in the rivers aren't good. He said the same type of parasite that contributed to the 2002 fish kill is infecting salmon that need cold water to thrive.

“I have asked Secretary Sally Jewell to work closely with the Yurok and Hoopa tribes and Humboldt County on a plan to release additional water from the Trinity River, which will boost flows on the Klamath,” Huffman said in a press release. “The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation must preserve cold water in Trinity Lake to prevent a repeat of the tragic 2002 salmon run disaster.”

Get the Story:
Tribes to feds: Klamath plan unacceptable (The Eureka Times-Standard 8/6)
Hoopa Valley Tribe holds protest to save salmon (KRCR 8/5)
Hoopa tribe calls for federal action to prevent fish kill (KRCR 8/5)
Tribes blast feds’ Klamath plan (The Eureka Times-Standard 8/4)

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