Jefferson Public Radio –
There’ll be more water for fish in the Klamath River — for the next few years, at least. Federal water managers have come to an agreement with the Yurok Tribe and a group representing commercial fishermen.
Last year, low water flows in the Klamath River led to a disease outbreak and a subsequent fish die-off.
The Yurok and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations sued the Bureau of Reclamation. They said the Bureau’s plan to manage the federal Klamath irrigation project was leading to deadly river conditions for protected fish.
Amy Cordalis, general counsel for the Yurok Tribe, notes the tribe has declared fisheries disasters for the past three seasons.
“The returning salmon runs every year are getting smaller and smaller,” she says. “And that’s having lasting impacts, not only on our tribal community, but also on ocean fisheries.”
The Bureau acknowledged its plan was based on flawed data and agreed to an interim plan that sends more water downriver from Upper Klamath Lake, while it develops a new long-term plan based on better science.
Glen Spain, with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, says that means less chance of the disease outbreaks that have led to fish kills in recent years.