Unofelice 
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Re: “Steps Made to Protect the Klamath Spring Run Chinook

The Shasta River is the best bet for restoring robust and wild Spring Chinook salmon population. All that is needed is removal of one small dam used for irrigation. The Montague irrigation District could switch to wells or divert water without a dam.

The Karuk Tribe had a lawsuit a few years back that could have gotten Dwinnell Dam out or at minimum fish passage around it. But they settled for lawyers fees and a token amount of water for fish flows. That was too bad; but some other entity could, and should, do a similar lawsuit.

That would be the best thing that could happen for Klamath River Spring Chinook!

Posted by Unofelice on 02/13/2019 at 6:39 PM

Re: “Steps Made to Protect the Klamath Spring Run Chinook

The #1 thing that could be done to help S[ring Chinook on the Klamath side of the Klamath-Trinity River Basin survive would be to take out Dwinnell Dam and Reservoir on the Shasta River. The Shasta was once the largest producer of Spring Chinook in the K-T. Then, in 1928, Dwinnell Dam wasd completed with no fish passage. It blocked access to the Spring Chinook strongholds on the Upper Shasta, Parks and Edy Creek, etc. Within 10 years Spring Chinook were extirpated from the Shasta River Basin.

Getting Spring Chinook established in the Upper Klamath River Basin may be difficult and may not produce m,any fish. The Tribes have a plan for a hatchery up on the Klamath Reservation above Upper Klamath Lake. They plan to haul juveniles down to the Klamath River. This sort of "experimental population" would not have ESA protection. It would be better to just let the Springers find their way once the dams are out. Then they would have ESA protection but some think humans can do better than natural recolonization. i have my doubts.

Posted by Unofelice on 02/13/2019 at 6:35 PM

Re: “Photos from the 56th Klamath Salmon Festival

Ironic that the Yurok Tribe would serve up a species - Klamath River Spring Chinook - whose wild component is on the brink of extinction and which were recently petitioned by the Karuk Tribe for ESA and California ESA protection.

Of even more concern is that the State of California allows guides and anglers to take two of these fish each and every day. THAT is insane!

I guess tribal and white fishers would say the fish were mostly from Trinity Hatchery. But even if just a few wild Springers were taken (and eaten), those who took and ate them put wild Klamath River Spring Chinook at greater risk for extinction.

Posted by Unofelice on 08/25/2018 at 12:12 PM

Re: “One Fish, Two Fish

There are clearly entities that are not involved in the "race against time" to save Klamath Spring Chinook. Most notable is the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Fish & Game Commission whose response to last year's dismal Spring Chinook run in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers kept fishing regulations that allowed "recreational" fishers in the Klamath River below Weitchpec and in the Trinity River above the South Fork to take and keep two Spring Chinook each and every day from May through August 14th (Agust 31st on the Trinity). That looks more like a "race toward extinction" than a "race against time".

Also culpable is the Pacific Fisheries Management Council on which both commercial salmon fishers and tribes have seats. For over 30 years that Council has ignored its mandate to prepare a management plan for Klamath-Trinity Spring Chinook Salmon. Such a management plan would base the allowed "take" of Spring Chinook on the predicted run size, just as is presently the case with Fall Chinook, in order to assure that a sufficient number of wild Spring Chinook survive to spawn.

I also wonder how Craig Tucker knows with such confidence that we "could have no fishing allowed and that wouldn't solve the problem." Perhaps it is because, judging by Mr. Tucker's press statements, he believes there is only one solution to every problem the Klamath River has, that is, removal of four PacifiCorp Dams. In fact, it is likely that removal of a different dam - Dwinnell Dam on the Shasta River - would do more to help Spring Chinook than removal of the four PacifiCorp dams. There are several reasons that's likely:
1. The Shasta River was, before Dwinnell Dam was built, the #1 producer of Spring Chinook in the Klamath River Basin.
2. Removing Dwinnell Dam would give Spring Chinook immediate access to some of the best Spring Chinook habitat remaining in the Klamath River Basin, that is, to the deep cold pools protected by Mt. Shasta Wilderness and the Mount Eddy Roadless Area.
3. Removing four PacifiCorp dams will leave a fifth PacifiCorp dam in place - Keno - and with it Keno Reservoir with terrible water quality which Spring Chinook must negotiate successfully in order to reach good spawning and rearing habitat. In fact, when the four PacifiCorp dams come out (which will happen since it is in the interest of a big and influential corporation), Spring Chinook will still face many miles of bad quality water before they could reach adequate spawning and rearing habitat.

In fact, it was the curtailment of fishing, not dam removal, that brought back Klamath and Trinity River Steelhead. In order to avoid those fish being listed pursuant to the federal ESA, the State of California developed a management plan that ended "take" of wild Klamath and Trinity Steelhead. Recovery followed.

The same thing should happen now for Spring Chinook: an adequate State of California and PFMC Spring Chinook plan would avoid the "sturm und angst" of an ESA listing. Furthermore, what has the ESA listing done for Coho Salmon ? Not much as far as I can tell.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Unofelice on 08/28/2017 at 3:23 PM

Re: “Let it Burn

We have come a long way since the Klamath Forest Alliance sponsored the first Klamath Fire Symposium which was organized mostly by Orleans resident Carlos Carrol. But we still have a long way to go. In spite of their good words at the conference, Cal Fire and the Forest Service have not reformed destructive and often ineffective fire suppression policies and practices. Both organizations are still demonizing natural wildfires and setting off ill-advised backfires from the bottom of steep slopes on hot afternoons (as FS firefighters did along the Klamath and Lower Scott Rivers in 2014). If we are ever going to return wildfire to its natural ecological role and restore the forest to a condition in which intense firestorms are rare events, we will need to reform the Fire Industrial Complex which is still stuck in 20th century thinking about wildfire and too wedded to the big bucks and contractors who profit from industrial-style fire suppression.

This fire season will be a good test of whether KNF Forest Supervisor Patricia Grantham and CalFire leaders will walk the walk as well as talk the talk of fire restoration. This is an ideal year to allow wildfires to play their natural ecological role in our forests while concentrating on keeping those fires away from homes, communities and infrastructure. We will likely get a chance to see if Grantham, other Forest Service leaders and CalFire leaders are ready to follow thorugh on the good words they stated at the Fire Symposium.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Unofelice on 06/02/2017 at 11:25 AM

Re: “That Dam Breitbart Story

Thadeus does a good job, for the most part, debunking "problems" with Breitbart's Klamath dams story. He relies on the Karuk Tribe's Craig Tucker for his facts. Craig knows a lot about the Klamath but apparently there are some things he does not know or wishes to misrepresent. Here are "facts" which the article got wrong:

1. The Klamath Irrigation project did not, as claimed, transform "rangeland into farmland" via irrigation water. In fact, much of the 200,000 acre Klamath Irrigation Project, including the most productive and profitable ag land, is in the diked and drained beds of Tule Lake (now 1/10th its original size) and Lower Klamath Lake (also now a fraction of its original size). While The Reclamation Act of 1905 was sold to Congress as "reclaim the dessert" all over the West it was mostly really "drain the wetlands" which is where the most valuable ag lands could be created just by diking and draining.

2. While the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement "provided for the restoration and expansion of upper Klamath Lake and would have added almost 100,000 acre feet of water storage capacity" that action would not, as Tucker claims, have "increased the ability for flood control on the river". That's because the KBRA would have locked in keeping Upper Klamath Lake full as early in the year as possible leaving little to no flood control ability to the US Bureau of Reclamation using Upper Klamath Lake. Furthermore, federal appropriations for lake expansion would and will be sought with or without the KBRA or any other water deal cooked up in the back room. Tucker knows this but apparently he can just not let go! To learn about the rest of the bad things in the KBRA - like its 19 pages of "Regulatory Assurances" designed to relive federal irrigators of the burden of ESA and state fish and wildlife laws - see www.KlamBlog.blogspot.com.

The article also omitted important facts, for example, the fact that in winter Lost River flows are diverted to the Klamath River to prevent flooding of the ton of Tulelake and surrounding farmlands which are in the bed of the original Tule Lake.

Most importantly, the article did not mention how the US Bureau of Reclamation actually does prevent sending flood waters (which would also take out Iron Gate Dam) down the Klamath River. When necessary, Reclamation uses its irrigation infrastructure to spread the water onto the bed of the former Lower Klamath Lake before that water can flow into the Klamath Canyon. With the exception of some wildlife refuge wetlands, those lands are now used to grow grain and as pasture for livestock. The grain fields benefit from flooding and the livestock are moved to higher ground when that area must be flooded to save the dams below.

Once the dams are removed (and they will be because it is in the interest of PacifiCorp and its owner Berkshire Hathaway Investments that they be removed) Reclamation will still be able to divert potential Klamath flood waters into the reclaimed bed of Lower Klamath Lake. As long as the US Bureau of reclamations manages the water properly, no Klamath River flooding will come from the Upper Basin. One should bear in mind, however, that Upper Basin flows controlled by Reclamation are only a fraction of total Klamath flows. Rain on snow in the Klamath Mountains west of Interstate 5 drives the Klamath's major floods.

Thadeus, you really should have called Reclamation about the flooding; Mr. Tucker is knowledgeable but even he does not know it all.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Unofelice on 02/27/2017 at 3:54 PM

Re: “Federal Court Rules in Favor of Salmon

Let's hope that the Yurok Tribe utilizes this decision to help the fish. I am a little concerned because, while I know tribal leaders care about the River, the Tribe is so dependent on the US Bureau of Reclamation for funding that they may let Reclamation short change the River as they did previously with the KBRA. But I hope the Yurok Tribe has learned the KBRA lesson: the people will not allow the health of the River to be compromised.

Posted by Unofelice on 02/10/2017 at 10:47 AM

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