council talks Trinity, hatcheries
John Driscoll The
EUREKA -- The near future of restoration on
the Trinity River and talk of stepping up
hatchery salmon tagging on the Klamath River
were key topics on day one of a Klamath
Fishery Management Council meeting.
Trinity River Restoration Program
implementation branch chief Ed Solbos said the
closure of a suit pressed by Central Valley
irrigators against the river's full
restoration has cleared the way for major work
to begin on the river.
Four bridges will be replaced by April to
make way for heavy flows during wet years.
Heavy equipment will be used for the next
several years to widen the river in places,
allowing the river to reshape itself and
increasing the area for chinook salmon to grow
before migrating to the ocean.
The earth-moving alone won't create ideal
habitat, Solbos said.
"What is the perfect habitat is what will
happen after we've taken the handcuffs off the
river," he said.
Other issues remain. One house sits in a
spot that would be inundated by big water, and
the federal government is arranging to move
its owner and level the house.
This year is forecast to be a dry or normal
year, and flows from Lewiston Dam would not
rise above 6,500 cubic feet per second. In wet
years, 8,500 cubic feet per second would be
released. Solbos said flows that high would be
increased in stages, while the river is
monitored for possible effects to people and
The council is an 11-member body of
agencies, sport and commercial fishermen and
tribes who recommend to regulators, among
other things, how the river's fish might be
divvied up among the fishing groups. During
today's meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. at the
Red Lion Inn, possible quotas and seasons for
2005 based on a predicted abundance of fish
will be hashed over.
Also on Wednesday, the council weighed
possibilities for increasing the number of
juvenile fish tagged at Iron Gate Hatchery on
the Klamath. Neil Manji, senior biologist for
the California Department of Fish and Game,
said there is a disparity between the
percentage of hatchery fish tagged in the
Klamath and at the Trinity River Hatchery.
About a quarter of Trinity chinook salmon
are tagged before leaving the hatchery,
compared to between 3 percent and 6 percent at
Iron Gate. Some 6 million salmon are produced
at Iron Gate, and funding a marking program
that brings the number of fish tagged to 25
percent could be expensive.
Hoopa Valley Tribe biologist George Kautzky
said during the 2002 fall fish kill, the
difference made it difficult to estimate the
damage done to the Trinity versus Klamath
Kautzky said a settlement agreement between
the federal government and the tribe could
provide seed money to boost the marking
program. Building consensus among managers
would be key to keeping the program at a
consistent level beyond that, he said.