Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Trinity flows get a boost
Combined local, wire reports
The agency will use about 36,000 acre-feet of water
stored in reservoirs near the headwaters of the
Trinity Basin to increase the flow of water from 450
cubic feet of water per second to 1,650 cfs.
The release of extra water is designed to prevent a
recurrence of a fish die-off that killed an
estimated 34,000 salmon in the late summer of 2002.
The Trinity River flows into the Klamath River about
44 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean. It was in
that section of the Klamath River where most of the
die-off occurred two years ago.
"Based on the conditions found by biologists
monitoring the river the last few days, we
recommended to Reclamation that we proactively
release additional water from the Trinity River to
help salmon now beginning to enter the Lower
Klamath," said Steve Thompson, manager of the Fish
and Wildlife Service's California-Nevada Operations
Kirk Rodgers, director of the Bureau's Mid-Pacific
Region, said most of the water used for this year's
higher flow was purchased from willing sellers in
the Central Valley Project.
"Due to the need to react quickly to the changing
circumstances on the river, Reclamation was unable
to provide a draft EA for public review and
comment," the agency announced Friday.
Representatives of an Indian tribe and commercial
fishermen who both harvest Klamath River salmon
welcomed the increase in Trinity River flows, but
complained that more water should also be sent down
the Klamath River, where one of the nation's most
contentious battles over dividing water between fish
and farms has gone on for years.
The tribe goes to trial Sept. 20 in U.S. District
Court in Oakland, Calif., in a lawsuit against the
Bureau of Reclamation claiming the 2002 fish kill
breached federal tribal trust obligations.
The bureau is to increase the extra Klamath River
flows to 100,000 acre feet next year under terms of
mandated by the Endangered Species Act.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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