News & Stories

  • Biodiversity forum talks Klamath Basin: Local tribes, environmental groups discuss dam removal

    October 4, 2013

    By Catherin Wong, TIMES-STANDARD, October 4, 2013

    he fight over water in the Klamath Basin will be discussed by a panel of tribal representatives and environmental advocates tonight as a part of Humboldt State University's Biodiversity Conference.

    ”I would argue that the Klamath River Dam is one of the most important issues on the North Coast,” Karuk Tribe Klamath River coordinator Craig Tucker said.

    Tucker, along with speakers from the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Klamath tribes, will answer questions on environmental, recreational and agricultural concerns stemming from a long history of scarce water resources and competition.

    The panel is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the John Van Duzer Theatre on the HSU campus at 1 Harpst St. in Arcata. On Saturday at 4 p.m., California Water Impact Network director and water policy analyst Tom Stokely will discuss the lower Klamath River augmentation flows in a presentation called “Twin (Peripheral) Tunnel impacts on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers.”

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  • Fish Wrap: Salmon haul slowing down with change of seasons

    October 3, 2013

    By Alastair Bland, MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL, October 3, 2013

    f the height of summer was a time to revel — salmon fishing at its best, with thrilling action and crossed lines and fish thumping the deck and always another angler shouting "Fish on!" — if that's the rapturous image of summer that's still flailing in your memory, then what boat skipper Sean Hodges told me two days ago is plain and true: "The party's over," he said.

    But that's to be expected, even in a good year. Things settle down. Water that was teeming with scads of fish becomes, once again, just plain water. But all that said, outside the Golden Gate, people are still fishing, but the salmon are coming in one at a time now, with many trips amounting to less than a fish per rod. The biggest fish have moved upstream, leaving those at sea mostly in the 10-to-20-pound class.

    Hodges, the captain of the Hog Heaven party boat out of Sausalito, fished on Sunday with 16 clients. The slow salmon bite mandated a change of focus late in the morning, and the day wound up a lukewarm success: Hodges' guests stepped onto the dock that afternoon with seven salmon, 142 rockfish and a lingcod.

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  • Fall Harvest Tour: Tough water year, tough to run a business

    September 29, 2013

     Samantha Tipler, HERALD & NEWS, September 29, 2012

    The only certainty when it comes to water is uncertainty. That’s what farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin face, and 2013 was no exception.

    Looking at the last 20 years, listing snowpack, precipitation and how much water irrigators in the Klamath Project received — especially the critical years in 2001, 2010 and now 2013 — Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director Greg Addington has trouble finding a common thread.

    “Tell me what those years have in common? Tell me what’s the same about these?” He asked those attending the KWUA Fall Harvest Tour on Thursday. “The point is, nothing is the same. There is no rhyme or reason. And it’s impossible to try to plan and run a business.”

    This year a drought coupled with the first year of water rights enforcement, called adjudication, and the joint biological opinion coordinating between requirements for the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake, combined for a controversial year in water.

    Presenters on the Fall Harvest Tour agreed with Addington, citing a need for water and a need for consistency.

    “Water is everything,” said Don Boyd, whose family has sold tractors and equipment in the Klamath Basin and Tulelake area since the 1930s.

    “Without the water we wouldn’t have this production,” Boyd said. “I have no idea how much it would reduce our agriculture. We might get two-row barley, or grow some grain. We might get two cuttings of hay instead of three or four cuttings of hay — if we had a good winter. Maybe only one cutting of hay. Without water we would probably lose two-thirds of our production, maybe all of it.

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  • Celebration of salmon spawns fun for Oroville

    September 29, 2013

     Dan Riedel, CHICO ER, September 29, 2013

    OROVILLE — Every year, chinook salmon head up the Feather River to the place they were spawned to complete their lives. For the last 19 years, the Oroville community has been celebrating that cycle.

    The Salmon Festival began Friday and continued with the majority of activities Saturday at the hatchery and downtown.

    Tours of the Feather River Hatchery, which detailed the lives of salmon, went on all day and wildlife technicians and scientists killed, cleaned, and spawned salmon on display in the hatchery.

    "We showed people what we do during the week," said hatchery manager Anna Kastner. "We wanted it to be a family educational event."

    Last year, the hatchery processed about 42,000 salmon and Kastner said they expected roughly the same amount this year. The fewest fish the hatchery ever processed was 7,000 in a season.

    Even though the salmon run for only a few months on the Feather River, the hatchery grows fish year-round and also deals with steelhead during the summer, Kastner said.

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  • Fishing the North Coast: Salmon stymied by shifting Klamath mouth

    September 26, 2013

    Kenny Priest, THE TIMES-STANDARD, September 26, 2013

    Along the lines of the '80s TV commercial for Wendy's where the old lady shouts, “Where's the beef?” Klamath salmon anglers have been wondering, “Where's the salmon?”

    In truth, no one really knows.

    What we do know is 11,538 have been harvested below the 101 bridge and another 1,009 have been caught by sport anglers above the bridge. Throw in approximately 54,000 fish that have been harvested by the Yurok tribe, and what you're left with is a lot of missing fish.

    Sure, there's a few fish that have squirted through and are now entering tributaries like the Trinity, Shasta, and Scott rivers, but with an in-river return at well over 250,000 predicted, the numbers aren't adding up.

    A big part of the problem has been the mouth of the river. Flowing to the south and running narrow and shallow, conditions have been less than ideal for huge pushes of fish to enter the river. And with last week's storms and big tide swings, it went from bad to worse. Since the weekend, it's been opening and closing and has created a lake that can be felt all the way to Blakes' riffle. At the moment, very few fish are entering the lower river and guides are lucky to catch a few a day.

    According to Sara Borok, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River, we've been down this road before.

    ”Back in 2001 we also had a south mouth that hampered the fish coming into the river. “It blew open on September 21 and we had a huge surge of fish pour in,” Borok said. “Although there's no way to know for sure, my guess it there are still quite a few fish in the ocean waiting for the right conditions to enter.”

    With big swells again predicted for the weekend, there's a chance the mouth can finally blow out enough to allow the remaining kings to enter the system and start their journey upriver. Let's hope so.

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