Screens accomplish at least one
Published November 7,
The new $16 million
fish screens at the headgates on the A Canal
apparently have done a job.
They had two jobs
to do, actually, and while we don't know if
they've done both of them, they've certainly
In building the
fish screens, the federal government has
eliminated a source of contention between
irrigators on the Klamath Reclamation Project
and the Klamath Tribes, to whom the suckers are
an important part of their religion and culture,
and, historically, as food. Two species of the
sucker have come under the special protection of
the Endangered Species Act.
We still don't know
- and we don't know that anyone does - whether
construction of fish screens to keep suckers
from going into the irrigation canal
significantly improves the long-term survival of
the suckers because nobody seems to have a firm
handle on just how many suckers there are.
But at least
irrigators, Tribes and the government don't have
to fight over the issue of the fish screens any
more. They're built, and they're working. They
circulate the fish back into Upper Klamath Lake
above the Link River Dam.
Recently a team of
federal employees worked their way through the A
Canal after the water from Upper Klamath Lake
was shut off and didn't find any stranded
Before the fish
screens were put in two years ago, the recovery
team found up to 10,000 suckers left after the
irrigation season ended. This year, there were
very few left.
In an area that is
seldom short of things to fight over when it
comes to water, the elimination of one is a big
The "H&N view"
represents the opinion of the newspaper's
editorial board. Most of the editorials are
written by Pat Bushey, including this one.