Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
 

 http://www.calepa.ca.gov/EnvJustice/Documents/2005/Klamath051805.pdf
Cal/EPA Environmental Justice Action Plan, pdf on KBC

Cal/EPA Environmental Justice Action Plan

Pilot Project Summary for Community Capacity Building – Klamath River

May 18, 2005

KBC NOTE:
Lead Agency: State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)
The plan: Considerations, Anticipated Challenges/Constraints: It may be the desire of the Tribes to restore the river to the pre-European settlement condition. This degree of restoration is likely not possible. Restoration will likely need to increase flows, which might result in reduced agricultural water supply. To achieve necessary reductions funding may be required to purchase and fallow agricultural lands. Competing interests will all have positions, which at times may be directly conflicting.
    (
KBC NOTE: This is an excellent agenda detailing the strategies and timeline to be used to take out dams, increase flows, downsize agriculture, gain funding, and use the "TMDL's" and "target fish population or catch numbers, quantifiable habitat improvement" to achieve their goal, and get the farmers to agree.
    A list of tribes and gov't agencies is included, the same ones that are "stakeholders" in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, KBRA. To their delight, the farm leaders (the peasants had no vote) have not only agreed to downsizing agriculture and receiving a reduced water supply, but also giving FWS superior water rights, ripping out hydro dams, giving tribes all the water rights, planting endangered fish and fish parasites in a shallow warm Klamath Lake, agreeing to Endangered Species Act and Biological Opinion mandates, agreeing with no current low-water-year water guarantee or plan for agricultural survival, and giving a tribe land they previously sold to be put into tax exempt trust. According to the agenda, they doubted the farmers would agree.

    What they did not do on their list of strategies was, "In each step of the solution process, public input will be sought." Why are they (KBRA group) still holding secret meetings in Sacramento with no disclosure, no public input or awareness, and far from the Klamath Basin where nearly 3000 petitions have been collected opposing the agreement or parts of the agreement in the past few years?)


I. Lead Agency: State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)

II. Project Area: The Klamath River in both Oregon and California. The following Tribes have lands and/or interests in the Klamath River Watershed:
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Hoopa Tribe
Yurok Tribe
Karuk Tribe
Klamath Tribes (Klamaths, Modocs, Yahooskin)
Resighini Rancheria
Quartz Valley Indian Tribe

Area Demographics: The Klamath River basin is located in Siskiyou County in inland northern California, adjacent to the Oregon border. As the fifth largest county in California by area, Siskiyou County features spectacular natural beauty and scenic cities and towns including Yreka, Mt. Shasta, Weed, Dunsmuir, McCloud, & Tulelake as well as Butte Valley, Scott Valley, Shasta Valley, & the Klamath River Corridor. As of 1998, the population of Siskiyou County was 44,700, which is roughly a population increase of 10,000 since 1970. The primary employment is retail trade and services. The unemployment rate of the County is 10%. Greater than 60% of the land within the County is currently managed by agencies of the Federal and State governments. These include: The U.S.D.A. Forest Service; Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and California Department of Fish and Game. These lands are maintained in various National Forests; Parks; Wilderness Areas; National Grasslands; National Wildlife Refuges; and State Wildlife Areas.

The Tribes that occupy the region have close ties to this river. Their combined population according to the California Native American Heritage Commission is
12,411, of which 4,245 are under the age of 18. Their median income was $26,875.

III. Background: The Klamath River is a valuable ecological resource to the States of California and Oregon as well as the Tribes that occupy its watershed. The Klamath River salmon fishery, as other fisheries in the Pacific Northwest, has dramatically declined over the years. Nonetheless, the Klamath River is the third most productive fishery in the region. Fortunately this watershed is less urbanized than most. As a consequence, we are hopeful that the trend of declining fishery resources can be halted and even reversed.

Cal/EPA EJ Action Plan SWRCB (Klamath) Pilot Project Summary May 18, 2005 – Page 2

The Tribes that occupy the region have close ties to this river. It has provided them with sustenance and they need to be active participants in actions taken to prevent the erosion of its ecological values.

To tackle this problem, the State and Federal Klamath Basin Coordination Group has been formed. This group is a coalition of the state of California (State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Fish and Game) and the state of Oregon (Governors Office, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) and Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA Fisheries, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representing federal interests in this interstate stream. The State and Federal Klamath Basin Coordination Group has received the endorsement of the governors of both states. To achieve its ends the State and Federal Klamath Basin Coordination Group must effectively engage the Tribes having lands in the watershed.

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will be working in establishing total maximum daily loads for pollutants entering the river system. However, the environmental effects of the power facilities in both Oregon and California will be evaluated as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing. This review is an opportunity that only occurs in approximately every fifty-year period. These steps will provide an opportunity to assess methods for determining cumulative impacts and how to apply precautionary approaches, if needed. These steps will provide an opportunity to asses methods for determining cumulative impacts and how to apply precautionary approaches, if needed.

IV. Project Start Date: Immediately.

V. Project End Date: Issuance of a Clean Water Act section 401 certification by the State Water Resources Control Board in the spring of 2007.

VI. Goal & Objectives: a. Goal: Effectively involve the Klamath River Tribes in the development of actions to restore fishery habitat and consequently fishery production in this important Pacific-Northwest watershed. Also, utilize cumulative impact analysis and the proposed Cal/EPA precautionary approach in implementation of this project. b. Objectives:
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Seek to reduce or hopefully eliminate fish die-offs that have occurred.

Increase the amount of productive habitat in an effort to restore historic higher populations of salmon.

Allow the Tribes, as a primary stakeholder of interest, to enjoy the benefit of increased fishery production.

Research and identify tools to conduct cumulative impact analysis.

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Cal/EPA EJ Action Plan SWRCB (Klamath) Pilot Project Summary May 18, 2005 – Page 3

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Research and inventory tried or proposed precautionary approaches.
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Develop and implement a Children’s Environmental Risk Reduction Plan.

VII. Activities – Planning, Implementation, Evaluation, & Deliverables Planning

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Site Selection: The Klamath River has avoided the urbanization that has affected the remainder of California’s most productive salmon streams. While the Klamath has experienced a decline in fishery production similar to all the other major streams it represents the best chance to take actions, which may restore part of its last production. Furthermore, the Tribes that inhabit the region have an economic, cultural, and religious tie to this river which represents the chief resource in the region. A rare opportunity exists because of the nature of the river, the unique regulatory events that are occurring, and the agreement of the two states and the federal government to cooperatively tackle the problem of environmental degradation.

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Reduction of Risk to Children’s Health: Historically the Tribes have looked at the river and its fishery as a source of sustenance. As the fishery has declined the diet of these native peoples has had to change, and with that change there has been an outbreak of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Return to a more natural diet, largely dependent on fish protein, is recognized to be healthier. Complete restoration of the fishery may lead to reversal of the epidemic of chronic disease facing the Tribes.

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Cal/EPA Cross-Media Implication: If the power production along the river is reduced to provide additional fish habitat this power will have to come from other facilities. These effects, however, will be evaluated in the environmental disclosure documents that must accompany the regulatory actions. SWRCB will work with other Cal/EPA Boards, Departments, and Office to identify cross-media opportunities as the project proceeds.

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Partnerships: The major state/federal regulatory agencies governing two states have joined together to tackle this difficult environmental problem. The agencies include:

State of California

• State Water Resources Control Board
• California Department of Fish and Game

State of Oregon

• Oregon Governors Office
• Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
• Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Federal Government

• Department of the Interior, Office of Policy Analysis
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          Cal/EPA EJ Action Plan SWRCB (Klamath) Pilot Project Summary May 18, 2005 – Page 4

• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
• NOAA Fisheries
• Bureau of Reclamation
• Bureau of Land Management
• Natural Resource Conservation Service
• Environmental Protection Agency

These agencies will work with the Tribes and basin agricultural interests to formulate workable solutions that will receive broad support in the region.

Implementation
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Methodology & Performance Indicators: A number of methods are possible, and should be developed by the State and Federal Klamath Basin Coordination Group in consultation with stakeholders. Performance indicators could include target fish population or catch numbers, quantifiable habitat improvement, or improvements in public health indicators (i.e. reduced rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease).

Public Participation: The State and Federal Klamath Basin Coordination Group is taking steps to meet with stakeholders including the Tribes to seek their input before any decisions are formulated. In each step of the solution process public input will be sought. Environmental disclosure documents, at both the state and federal levels, must under law be formulated and circulated. Written responses to comments will be developed prior to any final decisions.

See next page for Project Timeline.

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            Cal/EPA EJ Action Plan SWRCB (Klamath) Pilot Project Summary May 18, 2005 – Page 5

.Project Work Plan & Timeline:
        Activity                                                                      Start Date                                 End Date

Phase 1
1. Identify pilot project location(s)                                                                                        Completed
2. Define project parameters                                                                                                Completed

Phase 2
1. Develop Project Data Needs                                          Ongoing                                     4th Qtr 2005
2. Implement Project Data Responsibilities & Timelines       Ongoing                                     4th Qtr 2005
3. Develop a Public Participation Workplan                         1st Qtr 2005                             2nd Qtr 2005
4. Establish Stakeholders Advisory Groups                          2nd Qtr 2005                            3rd Qtr 2005

Phase 3
1. Seek Information Regarding Tribal Chronic Health Statistics 2nd Qtr 2005                         4th Qtr 2005
2. Develop Children’s Environmental Risk Reduction Plan (ChERRP) 2nd Qtr 2005               4th Qtr 2005

Phase 4
1. Prepare Decisional Documents                                        1st Qtr 2006                                1st Qtr 2007

Phase 5
1. Make A Decision Regarding Restoration Steps                4th Qtr 2005                                2nd Qtr 2007 
2. Develop An Evaluation Plan To Evaluate Long Term Effects Of Decisions 1st Qtr 2007       2nd Qtr 2007

Evaluation & Deliverables

Results: The real results of restoration efforts can only be evaluated over a reasonably lengthy period. Only in this way can the independent variables of hydrography and biological population fluctuations be removed from the equation. Immediate but indirect evaluation can be performed using indicators such as miles of habitat added or quantity of flow added to the system. These short-term indicators will be utilized, but they cannot and will not replace long-term resource evaluations. Unfortunately, no short-term evaluations can be performed which would adequately

Page 5

               Cal/EPA EJ Action Plan SWRCB (Klamath) Pilot Project Summary May 18, 2005 – Page 6

document the effect on the incidence of chronic disease. This will of necessity be evaluated using long-term health trend analysis. However, it may be possible to monitor the physical response to dietary changes. This effort will of necessity also take some time.

Deliverables: Establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads, renewal of power facilities license with appropriate environmental conditions, establishment of appropriate in stream flow requirements.

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Considerations, Anticipated Challenges/Constraints: It may be the desire of the Tribes to restore the river to the pre-European settlement condition. This degree of restoration is likely not possible. Restoration will likely need to increase flows, which might result in reduced agricultural water supply. To achieve necessary reductions funding may be required to purchase and fallow agricultural lands. Competing interests will all have positions, which at times may be directly conflicting.

VIII. For More Information: Comments, Questions, or Concerns regarding this Pilot?

Please direct comments, questions, or concerns to:

via Email: EnvJustice@calepa.ca.gov

via Postal Mail: Cal/EPA Environmental Justice Program PO Box 2815 Sacramento, CA 95812

via Phone: Beth Jines at (916) 341-5260

Project Contacts:

Pilot Project Contacts:
Beth Jines Chief, Office of Public Affairs SWRCB

SWRCB Environmental Justice Coordinator:
Adrian Perez Chief, Office of Employee Assistance SWRCB


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