Tuesday February 21, 2023

Yes Magazine

The Klamath River spans two states and is one of the West Coast’s most important rivers for fish. Historically, the river provided a generous abundance of salmon, trout, and other fish species to Indigenous populations, who have inhabited the basin for thousands of years. Today, it remains critical to numerous Native communities, including the Hoopa, Karuk, Klamath, and Yurok tribes, who rely on it for food, weaving materials, and spiritual connection.

But for the past century, a series of dams have blocked the migration of salmon and steelhead to their historical spawning grounds, with ripple effects to the entire ecosystem.

Normally, after salmon return to a river to spawn and die, their bodies provide key nutrients to other organisms in the river. This includes the trees that grow along the riverbanks whose roots help prevent erosion. Near Upper Klamath Lake, wetlands once served a vital role in filtering toxins from upper basin lakes and rivers, but they have been drained for agriculture.

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