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Coho de-listing petition rejection

Siskiyou County Water Users Association coho de-listing petition rejection response

Ridgecrest Daily Independent by Leo Bergeron, President SCWUA, Montague, October 9. 2012

Siskiyou County Water Users Association coho de-listing petition rejection response. Historical Note: In the late 1990s, a coho de-listing petition was rejected by NMFS and a federal court judge ruled in 2001 that the NMFS position was arbitrary, capricious and unlawful utilizing junk science. All coho listings in Southern Oregon and Northern California were withdrawn. The following are excerpts from the 14-page de-listing petition that has been rejected at this time.

Reasons for nominating the taxon for de-listing including any reference in any scientific journal or other literature dealing with the taxon

The Federal ESA has no provision for listing a non-indigenous species and there is no historical evidence that coho salmon were ever indigenous in the Klamath River Basin. The present listing by California ESA and NMFS has been based upon erroneous data and should be removed from the endangered or threatened listing under the California and Federal ESA. In addition to same, the following data clearly indicates that National Marine Fisheries Service ignored the science that was available to them and instead relied upon "junk science".

In 2001, not one person on the Karuk Tribal Council believed that coho salmon were native to the Klamath River, within the tribe's jurisdiction between Bluff Creek and Clear Creek on the California portion of the Klamath River, which is approximately between 91 and 140 miles below the lowest slated dam, Iron Gate, for removal, this statement is reflected for example, in the minutes of the Karuk Tribal Council meeting. "Sandi Tripp. A written report was included in the packets and Sandi was present to review it with the council. She addressed questions and concerns the council members had. Discussion was had regarding coho salmon and whether or not they were ever present in the main stream and tributaries. Sandi states NMFS has scientific proof that there were coho present and if they can make the river conducive to these fish they can work towards getting them off the Endangered Species List and get rid of the NMFS presence. Council states it may be easier to prove the coho were never present, also, the other comment was made that if they were never here they should not be encouraged to come back."

Shasta Tribe has held that coho salmon were never in the Klamath Basin "The coho were planted in the Klamath River in the mid 1890s after being raised in hatcheries on Redwood Creek, Humboldt County, because they failed to thrive in the warmer river the coho were planted numerous times through the years. The coho were not native fish in the Klamath River." Quote from 2009 Water Quality Klamath TMDL scoping comment responses "The Regional Water Board can not establish life cycle-based water quality objectives for the mainstem Klamath River because the DO concentrations associated with salmonid life cycle requirements can not be met even under natural conditions conditions in which there are no anthropogenic influences."

Effects of timber, mining, farming and mismanagement of inland streams and rivers "It does not appear that it is resource users (timber, farming, mining,) in the mid-Klamath is the reason, but is instead ocean and climatic conditions" on salmonid populations.

Final report Coho Salmon-Steelhead Klamath Expert Panels 04/25/11 Dr. John Palmisano formerly a Marine mammal biologist for NMFS in Juneau, Alaska, teaching fisheries and biology at U of Washington an environmental scientist for a consulting firm in Bellevue, Wash. ((503) 645-5676 (503) 645-5676 ) 1997: pg2. "Coastal waters from Mexico all the way to Alaska have gradually warmed since the climate shift of the 1970s and the subsequent, periodic affects of El Nino." "It is estimated that 40-80 percent of estuarine habitat along the Pacific Northwest has been diminished or destroyed." "It is clearly not the perceived mismanagement of inland streams and rivers that has caused the recent degradation of the salmonid population." It is also to be noted that upon genetic analysis of the "coho salmon in the Klamath Basin appears to be from plantings from Cascadia, Ore." This statement also verifies the statement that coho salmon were never indigenous to the Klamath Basin.

Final Report Coho Salmon-Steelhead Klamath Expert Panels 04/25/11 Pacific Northwest Coho Landings. Based on the following data from NMFS www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/commercial/landings/annual_landings.html It becomes clear that coho salmon population in the Pacific Northwest is not declining and that the coho have moved north into cooler Alaskan waters as a result of the historic rise in Pacific Ocean temperature. This NMFS data clearly indicates that coho salmon in the Pacific Northwest is not in decline, but is maintaining a 62-year average landing with 91 percent of coho being landed in cooler Alaskan waters in 2010. Prior to the warming of the Pacific Ocean the landings in 1950 of coho salmon in Alaskan waters was only 55 percent. This data alone negates the listing by California ESA and NMFS for coho salmon in any ESU south of Alaskan waters.

Importance of salmonids to native populations of California and dam effects Native tribes have spoken of millions of Chinook salmon in the Klamath River prior to the construction of dams. However, the reality based on California Division of Fish and Game 1930 report, fish bulletin #34, the total number of salmon on the Klamath totaled between 30,000 and 45,000 prior to the dams being installed. After the dams, the numbers went up to between 45,000 and 90,000 fish Dr. Ken Gobalet Professor of Biology Ph.D. California State University, Bakersfield "The rarity of salmonids in archaeological materials suggests that the ethnographic record overstated the importance of salmonids to the Native Americans of California." It becomes clear based on this evidence that dams have improved salmonid populations in the Klamath River. www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a932170617

Siletz Tribes speak to low coho numbers Van de Wetering, aquatics program leader of the Siletz Tribe, argues that "recent weak runs are most likely the result of unfavorable ocean conditions, which go through cycles." indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3936&Itemid=118
1913 California Fish and Game Commission report

(CFGC 1913) W. H. Shebley, superintendent of hatcheries, writes "Most of the salmon and steelhead eggs were taken at the [Redwood Creek] substation, as there was no run of either kind of salmon in the Trinity River." Any reported coho after 1895 were as a result of plantings in the Klamath. There is no evidence in historical documentation that coho salmon were ever native to the Klamath River prior to plantings in 1895 and 1899. NMFS referral to statements made 36 years after initial plantings is arbitrary, capricious and ludicrous in an attempt to list a species that is non-indigenous to the Klamath River. Based on NMFS statements and "proof" there is little doubt that any court in the land would throw out this ridiculous claim of "proof." www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/documents/SAL_SH/SAL_Coho_StatusNorth_2002/SAL_Coho_StatusNorth_2002_D.pdf

2006 California position on coho salmon "California Fish and Game Finfish and Shellfish Identification Book" published in December 2006 does not list coho salmon as being present in California waters. This information alone should make it clear that California Fish and Game do not consider coho salmon native to the Klamath River.

Understanding coho reduction in California waters In an attempt to understand the movement of commercial salmon into Alaskan waters research found that there has been a historic rise in temperature of the Pacific Ocean which directly correlates with the historic increased activity in the Ring of Fire volcanoes. In 2010, 91 percent of all coho salmon have been caught in Alaskan waters. Although California, Oregon and Washington commercial fisheries are suffering, there is significant scientific evidence that the Pacific Ocean temperature increase is the primary cause. In 1950, the total catch of coho salmon in Alaskan waters was 55 percent. Further, in 1960, the total coho catch in the Pacific Northwest was 6,200 metric tons and in 2012, was 15,079 metric tons, according to NMFS landing data again proving coho salmon are not in peril of extinction.

Genetic analysis of hatchery vs. natural salmon The initial statement regarding the controversy between "natural" and "hatchery" fish was made in a report by Busack and Currens in 1995, wherein they stated, "Interbreeding with hatchery fish might reduce fitness and productivity of a natural population." Mr. Michael Rode of the California Department of Fish and Game at a hatchery evaluation meeting on Sept. 19, 2002 at Iron Gate Hatchery disclosed that less than a 2 percent genetic survey has been taken to date and no genetic differences have been noted between "hatchery" or "natural" coho salmon. A 2011 report by the expert panel indicated that their genetic analysis indicated the salmon in Northern California were from Cascadia, Ore. plantings.

In summary Based on evidence presented in this petition, coho salmon were never indigenous to the Klamath River and the listing of coho salmon by California ESA and Federal ESA should be terminated. Concluding that coho salmon were not indigenous, there is no provision in the Endangered Species Act to list a non-native species. Not only were they not indigenous, scientific evidence is conclusive that planted coho runs in the Klamath Basin in Northern California have moved north due to historic warming of the Pacific Ocean. This clearly indicates that said listings are in violation of the Federal ESA and are unlawful, arbitrary and capricious.

Final Report coho salmon-steelhead Klamath expert panels 04/25/11 Further, the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife are in violation of the Federal ESA as their mandates are restricted to freshwater species and their involvement in the dam removal issue is out of their jurisdiction for a salt water species of fish.


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