Petition Closed
Petitioning Bureau of Reclamation, Northern California Area Office Ron Reck and 2 others
This petition will be delivered to:
Bureau of Reclamation, Northern California Area Office
Ron Reck
Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Falls Office
Jason Phillips
Secretary of the Interior
The Honorable Sally Jewell (Secretary of the Interior)

NEVER AGAIN: Tell The Bureau of Reclamation Release Water to Avoid a Klamath Fish Kill

A two week comment period just opened regarding the release of Trinity River water to avoid a Klamath River fish kill. The day the government announced the comment period Central Valley farmers  filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue in an attempt to stop the water releases. The Klamath River is extremely low and warm already and the fish kill alert level was recently raised to yellow. Last time a Klamath fish kill occured commercial fishing distasters were declaired for much of California and Oregon and Tribal people suffered from lack of salmon for years after the fish died.

This water is needed to avoid a fish kill because for the last two years Upper Klamath Lake has been overdrawn by farmers, and this year the area is suffering from a drought. This has lead to the Klamath Tribe in the Upper Basin using water rights to protect the lake and the lake's fish, which has shut off water to some ranchers. The river has not gotten enough water. It is low and warm and a large run of salmon is starting to come into the river. Low water coupled with a large run of salmon creates the perfect conditions for a fish kill.

 

Last time there was a drought and the needs of the Upper Basin trumped the river over 60,000 adult salmon died in the Klamath River. This fish kill lead to years of commercial fishing disasters for California and Oregon’s fishing communities, along with food emergencies for California’s largest Tribes.

To make things more complicated now the Central Valley farmers, which divert the Klamath’s largest tributary, the Trinity River, have entered the Klamath water wars by filing an intent to sue if additional Trinity water is released into the Klamath claiming they are also suffering from water reductions due to drought.

Last year scientists were able to secure additional releases of Trinity River water to avoid a possible large-scale fish kill in the Klamath River. These releases were made and disaster was avoided. Now they are needed again.

We are also asking the BOR and States of California and Oregon coordinate  Klamath and Trinity water planning. This is needed because the Trinity is diverted into Central Valley Project in the Sacramento Valley and the Klamath is diverted for desert farming in the upper basin of the Klamath.

Regardless of who caused the Klamath Crisis action needs to be taken now to avoid a Klamath fish kill.

Mail comments to Don Reck, Bureau of Reclamation, Northern California Area Office, 16349 Shasta Dam Blvd., Shasta Lake, CA 96019, fax to 530-276-2005, or email sha-slo-klamathflows@usbr.gov

 


Letter to
Bureau of Reclamation, Northern California Area Office Ron Reck
Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Falls Office Jason Phillips
Secretary of the Interior The Honorable Sally Jewell (Secretary of the Interior)
NEVER AGAIN: BOR Please Release Water from the Trinity and Klamath Rivers to Avoid a Klamath Fish Kill

For the last two years low flows in the Klamath River, due to the overdrawing of Upper Klamath Lake by farmers and drought conditions, have lead to additional releases of Trinity River water being needed to avoid a possible large-scale fish kill in the Klamath River. This year a 60-day notice of intent to sue has been filed by Central Valley farmers, who currently receive Trinity diversions, to stop the needed release of Trinity River water.

Water quality conditions in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers are dire and already reports of sick fish and extremely warm water are occuring in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. This coupled with the fact a large run of salmon is beginning to come up the river is making a fish kill possible.

The Klamath salmon run regulates fishing for all those who depend on salmon in Oregon and California. Another fish kill could lead to economic disasters for the states and lack of food for California’s largest Tribes. Please make a decision based on science and release this water and also make water available from the upper Klamath to avoid a fish kill. We need to avoid a fish kill below and above the Trinity River.
I also ask that the Klamath and Trinity water planning in California and Oregon be coordinated in the future because the Trinity is diverted into the Central Valley Project and the Klamath is diverted to upper basin farmers in Oregon.

Tribes and environmentalist have warned for years that the fact the BOR and states are not coordinating Klamath and Trinity water planning could lead to a crisis like the one we now face.

Regardless of the cause of this crisis, I support emergency Trinity and Klamath water releases in the short term and whole basin water planning and management to restore the Klamath and Trinity salmon in the future.

Not releasing water is a chance we cannot afford to take.





This year as the drought in the Upper Klamath River, and related water shut offs for Upper Basin ranchers, have made national headlines, the dire conditions in the lower Klamath River have largely been ignored by the media. Last time this happened over 60,000 adult salmon died in the Klamath River. This fish kill lead to years of commercial fishing disasters for California and Oregon’s fishing communities, along with food emergencies for California’s largest Tribes.

Now the Central Valley farmers, which divert the Klamath’s largest tributary, the Trinity River, have entered the Klamath water wars by filing an intent to sue if additional Trinity water is released into the Klamath claiming they are also suffering from water reductions due to drought.