Thanks for remembering
Editor: Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed the article that Wally Graves wrote about Iwo Jima (cover story, February). I'm one of the survivors who was mentioned in the article and it was good to know of others that went through the same thing I did. Will send it to all my friends. Thank you for remembering.
Cliff Kramer Arcata
Editor: I read with interest Ross Taylor's response to Marie Gravelle's (January cover story) "A Story of Six Rivers." He states that the article "advocates a biased position with opinions, speculations and false statements." He accuses Gravelle of spreading "misinformation." Strong words. When Ross gets down to telling us what is wrong with the piece, his arguments lack substance. To point out flaws in Gravelle's characterization of declines in Klamath River salmon populations, he tells us that returns of fall Chinook salmon were 7,500, 7,100 and 9,000 from 1990-1992. But Ross failed to say that these were the lowest escapement levels ever recorded, and that some stock groups within the Klamath River Basin are threatened with extinction. One such stock is the Lower Klamath fall Chinook, known to the Yurok Indians as "Blue Creekers." These fish return to the tributaries below the Trinity River, including Terwer Creek, and were noted for their large size, often spawning at six years of age (70 pounds!). They have declined from over 10,000 in the 1950s to fewer than 500 in recent years. They have been eliminated in many creeks. Ross gives us a geography lesson by correcting Gravelle for including Wilson Creek as a Lower Klamath tributary. What Ross didn't mention was that all three watersheds in question (Wilson, Hunter and Terwer) are in equally abysmal condition. All three creeks run underground in late summer because massive landslides, caused by poor land management, have buried the normal stream beds. He claims that a large, hot fire was responsible for Terwer's condition. The fire burned hot along ridges where stands of even-aged plantation conifers stood, but much of what was taken in "salvage" was actually viable old-growth trees that had fire scars. The California Department of Forestry is still approving timber harvests in this basin, despite its 90 percent disturbance level! Ross doubted that fall Chinook salmon had ever spawned in the main stem of the Mad River below Blue Lake. He should talk to old timers or acquaint himself with the 1960 U.S. Fish and Wildlife study that indicated that thousands did so in the 1950s. Finally, he informs us that there are still some deep pools left in the Eel River. Compared to what? The Eel River once accommodated steam ships; now you can wade across it. Sediment yield in the basin remains high today. One only needs to check the popular press to see that farmers in the lower Van Duzen River valley are having flooding problems because the river channel is filling in. Gravelle bravely reported the true state of our North Coast watersheds and deserves accolades, not derisive comments. Keep up the good work.
Patrick Higgins Consulting fisheries biologist, Arcata
Editor: In your March 1995 issue under the heading News Briefs, I read my son's name (Cpl. Martin Sintic) again in connection with the Humboldt County Jail. Your article mentions a "jailhouse incident" where Humboldt County was put on the defensive and settled out of court for $100,000. Why don't you go on to explain the circumstances of this settlement? This incident was during Redwood Summer in 1990, five years ago. Several demonstrators against logging received haircuts for health reasons. My son and four other correctional officers were ordered by their superior to give the haircuts. The other officers are never named in news articles regarding this incident. Humboldt County settled out of court because it was cheaper than going to trial. It could have won the case, but made no attempt to do this. It is not my son's fault the county settled out of court and for such a large amount. The 1990 incident and the most recent incident you mention, for which he was acquitted, were charges where he simply was doing his job.
Joyce E. Sintic Eureka
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