This parasite issue, C.
shasta, directly and unfairly affects the irrigation water
supply for farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Project.
The Klamath Project supply is used to mitigate the disease on
the Klamath River by providing "flushing flows" and "spore
dilution flows. " This water is directly taken from water that
could otherwise be available to the irrigators. The polychaete
worms mentioned in the article have adapted to the managed flows
in the Klamath River. Reducing these polychaete assemblages
requires much more water than historically needed. Once again,
this is not due to Klamath Project operations.
Oregon State University trials show that high C.
shasta spore concentrations do not necessarily equate to
mortality. In most years, the majority of wild juvenile Chinook
have outmigrated prior to high infection rates and elevated
spore concentrations. We need to read the fine print in the
science before passing judgment about the overall
Farmers and ranchers care deeply about the health of the
fisheries in the Klamath Basin. Project irrigators have been
strong proponents of gravel augmentation below Iron Gate Dam to
provide a more dynamic streambed during the high flow events,
which is much more effective in reducing polychaete populations.
Also, we support altering hatchery practices to reduce the C.
shasta impacts on hatchery Chinook, which is a significant
factor contributing to disease impacts the following year.
C. shasta is a problem.
However, the problem must be understood in the proper context.
The solutions must move away from the old, failed paradigm of
using Klamath Project water to mitigate all environmental
concerns in the Klamath Basin.
Klamath Water Users Association
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