Klamath Water Users
While environmental activists will argue that the Hardy flows represent the "best available science" and that activating those flows could have prevented the 2002 lower Klamath River fish die-off, one must remember:
Judge Saundra Armstrong in May 2002 ruled that the Hardy Phase II report – which plaintiffs claimed then (and now) is the "best available science" – could not be relied upon as such, since it only existed in draft form.Rather, the Court ruled that the Interim Report prepared by the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin was the best available science.
"The Court finds that the NRC Interim Report is the best science available, particularly in light of the April 30, 2002 clarification letter."
"The Court is unwilling to rely upon the Hardy Phase II draft report as the best science available...at present, the Hardy Phase II report exists only in draft form. As the report states on each page, its conclusions, and most importantly, its recommended flow levels are subject to change."
Reference to Judge Armstrong's 2002 Decision: Federal Defendant's Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, PCFFA v. USBR.
Since Judge Armstrong’s decision, the Hardy Phase II Report has not been finalized, nor has NRC completed its final report, which is due to be finished in May or June of this year. Judge Armstrong on April 29th will again consider the DRAFT Hardy Phase II Report in a decision that could once again threaten the water supplies of Klamath Project family farms.The Best Available Science argument supported by Judge Armstrong last year still holds.
The draft Hardy Phase II Report does nothing to address prevention of a
fish die-off. Tribal biologists and environmentalist advocates refer to
the draft "Hardy Phase II" report to support their arguments that increased
Iron Gate Dam releases would have prevented the fish die-off located more
than 170 miles downstream. In fact, The draft Hardy Phase II report
contains no data, analyses, or discussion applicable to prevention of a fish
kill in the lower Klamath River. Instead, the draft Hardy Phase II report
was based on a computer modeling exercise and field work to recommend
instream flows for physical habitats for salmon (e.g., spawning and
The Hardy Flow Reports are Fatally Flawed
The "Hardy Phase Flow Reports" – so named for its primary author, Dr. Thomas Hardy of Utah State University – build upon previous instream flow recommendations made for the main stem Klamath River based on analyses of hydrology data. This work was originally commissioned to address instream flows required to support ecological and tribal trust needs in the main stem Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam (IGD).
The Hardy flow studies contain fundamental flaws that taint their use.
KWUA has still not received responses from federal agencies and Dr. Hardy on the association’s formal comments submitted on both phases of Hardy’s work. KWUA determined both reports to be fundamentally flawed and did not provide scientifically defensible information for developing specific flow recommendations for the Klamath River. We are concerned that other technical information previously developed by KWUA and submitted to Interior has not been considered in this process.
The Phase I Hardy Flow Report is Fatally Flawed
In June 2002, Miller Ecological Consultants, Inc. of Ft .Collins, Colorado completed its assessment of the Phase I Hardy Report, which was used as the interim basis for the National Marine Fisheries Service biological opinion for 2001 Klamath Project Operations. That opinion called for higher than normal flow releases at Iron Gate Dam, ultimately contributing to the federal government’ s decision in 2001 to curtail water – with disastrous community impacts – to Klamath Project family farms and ranches. Miller found the Phase I Hardy Report to be "fatally flawed" for the following reasons:
Recent Findings on DRAFT Hardy Phase II Report
Made by Dave Vogel, Fisheries Biologist:
Source:Declaration of David A. Vogel, on behalf of Defendant/Intervenors Klamath Water Users Association, in PCFFA et al. v. USBR et al. Civ. No. C02-2006 SBA.
"I examined some of the field sites used for the draft Hardy Phase II report and found that those areas were notably non-representative of the majority of fish habitats in the Klamath River; it appears that those sites I examined may have been chosen more for ease of access. Many of the most-representative fish habitats in the Klamath River are more difficult to access than the Hardy Phase II study sites I examined. This is one reason, among many, why I believe the ultimate computer modeling outputs in the draft Hardy Phase II report are artificially skewed to erroneously conclude that very high Iron Gate Dam releases are needed for salmon in the main stem Klamath River."
"The draft Hardy Phase II Report greatly under-represented ideal habitats found in the main stem channel. The assumptions on salmon rearing habitat presented in that report are nearly opposite of those derived from numerous studies in other river systems. The best empirical evidence to date indicates that the draft Hardy Phase II Report’s assumptions on main stem Klamath River rearing habitat do not accurately reflect a correct modeling of fish habitat conditions known elsewhere to be suitable."
"I also found that the draft Hardy Phase II Report was severely constrained by biological data collection during high flow conditions that created unintentional, but severe, bias in the results. This problem was further compounded by inappropriate sampling techniques that resulted in misinterpretation of fish utilization of habitats in the Klamath River. The consequence was that a large disproportionate sampling of selective habitats combined with high flow conditions occurred during the Phase II study."
"One of the major errors occurred in the draft Hardy Phase II report when the authors assumed, without supporting data, that habitat usage of Chinook fry in the main stem Klamath River should be used as a surrogate for coho fry, despite well-known differences in habitat criteria between the species. This erroneous, unsubstantiated assumption alone brings into serious question the validity of conclusions in the draft Hardy Phase II Report."
Note: The National Research Council (NRC) Klamath Committee also
recognized the deficiency of such an assumption in their April 30, 2002
letter report to the National Marine Fisheries Service: "In evaluating
modeling results for other life stages, the committee was skeptical of
analogies that were drawn between habitat requirements of coho and chinook
salmon, because their life histories differ in important ways."
The process leading to the draft Hardy Phase II report was severely constrained and flawed by exclusion of other expertise, stakeholders, and knowledgeable individuals.
"I arrived at the Klamath In Stream Flow Study Work Group meeting, to which the Klamath Water Users Association had been extended an invitation by Mr. Mike Rode of California Department of Fish and Game, only to be turned away by Mr. Doug Tedrick of the Bureau of Indian Affairs….Prior to being asked to leave the meeting, I noticed that the National Marine Fisheries Service…California Department of Fish and Game…Karuk Tribe….U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service….and the Bureau of Indian Affairs…each had representatives in the meeting room (with Dr. Hardy) "
Keith Marine, Natural Resources Scientists, Inc.
11/6/00 Letter to Klamath Water Users Association
"We cannot regard (Hardy Phase II) as the best available science for in-stream flows. There is no independent peer review or presentation and discussion of such peer review for this specific report and its recommendations. The Technical Team is not an adequate peer review source since they have played a role in development of the recommendations."
Richard D. Barnum, Siskiyou County Planning Director
2/28/02 Letter to Doug Tedrick, Bureau of Indian Affairs
"I recommend that we not get into detailed criticism of this report and
methods. Doing so only helps BOR and the water buffaloes….simply accept his
flows with a little modification and move ahead…
Comments by California Department of Fish and Game Reviewer of the Draft Hardy Phase I Report
Clearly, much more work needs to be accomplished to rectify the mistakes made in the Phase II process.
Klamath Water Users
Content and Logo: Copyright © Klamath
Water Users Association, 2002 All Rights
Page design: Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2002, All Rights Reserved