Yurok Tribe: Bureau of Reclamation ditches 2019 water plan after fatal fish disease


The Bureau of Reclamation announced plans November 15 to ditch the 2019 water plan and begin again, according to a press release by the Yurok Tribe.

When the disastrous plan started in April, it caused drought-level water flows on the Klamath River, even as Upper Klamath Lake was flooding. The plan also caused an outbreak of a fatal fish disease in the river near the Iron Gate Dam.

To save the fish, summer flows on the river were sacrificed.

The Yurok Tribe took the Bureau to court to stop the plan, citing serious systemic errors in the Bureau’s analysis of the fish habitat. This is what caused the Bureau to rescind their plan.

“We had no other choice but to take the Bureau to court because the Klamath BiOp is killing the River.” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “The Klamath salmon stocks are currently in an extremely fragile state as the fish population is only just now starting to rebound from previous disease outbreaks. The Yurok people depend on the Klamath River’s salmon runs for survival and we should not have to bear the brunt of the agency’s poor decision-making. During the course of the water year, the Yurok Tribe repeatedly sought modification of the Plan to provide higher May-June flows, or barring that, at least the provision of an additional 20,000 acre feet of water for emergency disease management flows.”

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