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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Letter from Karuk Tribal member James Waddell
to friend Glen, and from Glen to friend Leo regarding Klamath settlement agreement, posted 4/25/08

Thanks, Glen;

Your comments certainly warrant careful reading after all your work to understand this document of volumes of data that are just not supported by science or past historical reports. One other thing is that so many of these "Dam Removal" - "River Restoration" activists are not as they present themselves. From all reports, the Karuk, Yuruk and Hupa tribes have no historical cultures in or around the Klamath dams. They really are not supported by ANY majority of their own tribal members in these actions; so many tribal members don't even know what is going on... and most tribal members certainly do not get any of this "Free Money." Karuk tribal members are some 3,456 in numbers but the vast majority are somewhere else besides aboriginal Karuk Territory and either don't know what is going on or just long since given up on listening to these Tribal Clan-Groups that glom onto all the money. Even in Karuk elections only about 400 tribal votes ever show up on election records.

The Klamath Natives were never "Given" salmon fishing rights in their treaties. The papers were written to say that they could continue gathering fish... but the documents never spoke of "Salmon." Other non-gravel-spawing fish were in the Klamath Falls area, but, as best I can learn, there were never salmon in Klamath Falls.

Some supposed Native American people were paid to appear at media protests to give the false image of tribal support. Media people report money-making stories and often ignore obvious truths; especially boring science that will go against their favored stories.

Free money to the Clan-Group managers and political manipulations have given some tribes false images of political importance. Politicians jump on the bandwagon, often to get kick-backs in the McCain-Feingold Act's hidden method of political donations from Native American tribes.

Other than salmon usage, the Karuks, Yuruks and Hupas are not adversely impacted by dams, and any reported decrease in salmon population available to those three tribes has already been disproved as the dams being the cause.

As near as I can find out, this politically named "Fisherman's Association" is another group of activists mobilized by these Karuk political actions; so maybe they are not really fishermen at all?

You do a lot of work! It is appreciated and needed where so many just ignore the situation.

I have many relatives as Karuk tribal members, many friends there and now so many do not like the "Karuk Tribe of California" and say that these corruptions specialists and anti-human actions have damaged the name of our tribe. Karuk Tribal members who oppose these Karuk Managers have been threatened in many ways into keeping their mouths shut. Because I have spoken out, some members have warned me to "Be careful."




I have still not completed reading the Klamath Agreement but, based on what I have read and on published summaries I have seen, here are my current thoughts.

This, without question, is the biggest blackmail job I have ever encountered. Environmentalists, Tribes and one Fisherman's organization are using the Endangered Species Act and the threat of Law Suits to coerce Project Farmers and the Bureau of Reclamation into measures that they refer to as River Renewal. Actually, their agenda is and has been removal of the Dams regardless of what that does to the fish. For some reason they have the FWS and NMFS, or whatever it is called now, signed on to their agenda. An article in the April, 2005 issue of Fisheries magazine, a publication of American Fisheries Society, titled DISTRIBUTION OF ANADROMOUS FISHES IN THE UPPER KLAMATH WATERSHED PRIOR TO HYDROPOWER DAMS is being used to prove the existence of major salmon runs upstream from Upper Klamath Lake. This article could be convincing except for the fact that the authors seem to push aside historical data that rejects the idea of major runs in the upper basin.

Before the dams, late Summer and Fall flows coming out of Klamath Lake were often very low to non-existent and what flow there was would have been very polluted by algae blooms. My mother, now 99 years old and raised at Thompson Cr. downstream from Seiad Valley, relates that the river was so low in Fall months the children could wade across at certain locations. This with flow from the springs coming to the river below Keno and the Shasta, Scott and numerous creeks contributing to the river flow. One year when she was a small child, there was a severe fish die off in the vicinity of Thompson Creek. Her Grandfather gave all the kids sharp sticks to use to throw dead fish back into the river. In later years she had her son-in-law who worked for the State Fish and Game as a fish biologist research this die-off and he told her it was recorded that gill rot had caused the problem. Similar to the die-off in 2002. There are also historical records noting Fall pollution of the river. Part of the problem is that the salmon run starts before the river is ready. The Bar at the mouth of the river is opened for the influx of fish by an early coastal storm or some other means while the upstream river water is still hot. This information, to me, indicates that water quality will probably not be improved by removal of the dams unless cold water storage is available to dump into the river which also would help the water with the dams in place.

Improvement of salmon runs with removal of the dams is problematic and dam removal is a high price to pay to find out these experts are wrong. It seems that the only ones giving something up in this agreement are the farmers, the citizens of Siskiyou County, any other users of the clean renewable power that will be lost and recreationist such as dredge miners who likely will be inundated with silt.

It would seem quite likely that commercial over-fishing is contributing to the reduced salmon runs and yet commercial fishermen whether it be ocean fishermen or tribes along the lower river are not asked to give up anything.

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