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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Science behind listing of endangered fish should be public
by Christine Hankins, Bonanza, letter to editor of Herald and News 7/3/18

I read recently that the Secretary of the Interior has decided that the science behind listings of endangered species will be made public going forward.

This is a great idea! We need to extend this ruling backward.

For instance, has anyone ever wondered how the ”endangered” short-nosed sucker existed for millennia before the local dams (only a couple hundred years old) made it possible to keep lake and river levels so high?


Why didn’t they go extinct when the waters now kept artificially high (supposedly on their behalf) diminished annually into little more than a series of mudholes?

Does it seem strange that even though tribal members are no longer throwing them up on the banks to die, as was reportedly common in Lost River near Olene long ago, there aren’t a lot of juveniles showing up when researchers attempt to count them?

Are the unnaturally high water levels we are maintaining for their benefit actually requiring them to adapt to an environment that is not natural for them, causing more harm than good for the sucker population?

Could it be possible that the opinions used in listing and attempting to help these fish were not based on real data gathered by scientific observations of this exact species in these exact locations?

This is a question that deserves an open-to-the-public answer with specific data collected on these exact species in these exact locations. And if it turns out that nobody has any data comparing how the suckers fared before their environment featured year-round high water levels with their population since the dams have been in place, then how do we know we are helping them?


Maybe driving agriculture out of the Klamath Basin in order to save the suckers will result in local humans as well as fish being extinct suckers!

Christine Hankins




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