NO New Dams in California: Stop Sites Reservoir

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It has been almost 80 years since Morning Star Gali’s Pit River Tribe have seen salmon swimming up the Pit River. The building of the Shasta and Pit River dams blocked salmon and flooded Tribal lands, nearly wiped out the winter and spring run salmon Morning Star Gali, the mother of four Pit River children and water protector, works to make sure her kids will be able to fish again on the Pit River. She has joined Chief Caleen Sisk, of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in demanding water for fish, and fish passage so the salmon can come home.

Their work is threatened by the proposed Shasta Dam Raise and new dams and diversions being pushed by the Trump administration, which could wipe out Sacramento and Klamath River salmon.

Today, the majority of the Sacramento watershed, which feeds the San Francisco Bay and Bay Delta, is heavily dammed and diverted. The salmon runs that once spawned in the cold waters of the Upper Sacramento, Pit and McCloud Rivers are facing extinction.

Hundreds of miles away from the Pit River on the remote Redwood coast, Sammy Gensaw III and other Yurok Tribal youth live on the remote Klamath River, where they still use salmon as a staple food source for ceremonies, and as a source of income on the Yurok Reservation where the unemployment rate has reached 80%.

Due to continued poor water management during California’s drought, last year was one of the worst salmon years on record for the Klamath River. As the salmon declined, tribal members were allotted only one salmon per eight Tribal members. Jobs became scarcer and people's’ health worsened, and suicide rates among Yurok youth skyrocketed to 16 times the national average.Poor salmon runs also caused commercial fishing to be shut down in much of California and Oregon devastating coastal economies. 

The struggles of the Klamath, Pit, Trinity, McCloud, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Bay Area Tribes, are connected through the water diversions, reservoirs, power plants and dams which feed the Central Valley Water Project, and its heavily subsidized industrial farms.

Much of California Tribes’ land and resources have already been liquidated to benefit the nation’s richest industrial agricultural and power companies. Agriculture uses 80% of California’s developed water and has continued to expand (especially permanent crops such as nuts) during drought years, while upwards of 90% of the young salmon die in the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers.

New dams and diversions would not only be the end of most of California’s salmon, they would flood sacred sites, and further deprive Tribes of salmon, and the possibility of bringing their salmon home. California knows water is life. These rivers provide drinking water to 25 million people. Please join California Water Protectors in our fight for California’s rivers.