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Another Dwinell lawsuit

PNP comment: Why does Erica Terence get so much ink? How does Erica know coho are being killed? There is no known data proving coho were ever above above the Lake Shastina area. There are very few coho in Shasta River, maybe the 12,000 adult chinook salmon that returned this year eat the baby coho? There are lots of fish in the Shasta River, coho just don’t seem to do well there. So why should we try to make them live there. Coho are abundant north of us, cuz they are a colder water fish. This is an agenda, and it isn’t about coho. — Editor Liz Bowen

(KBC EDITOR: Board members of Klamath Riverkeeper, a dam removal advocacy group, are also voting members of the KBRA/Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. Go to Craig Tucker Page for more information on the ringleader.


Siskiyou Daily News

March 27, 2012

Siskiyou County — The battle over Dwinell Dam took a new turn Monday with an announcement by the Siskiyou County Pomona Grange (SCPG) that the organization intends to file a counter suit against Klamath Riverkeeper and the WaterKeeper Alliance “and all members combined and separately.”

On Mar. 12 Klamath Riverkeeper (KRK) – a nonprofit organization that advocates for protection and restoration of Klamath River salmon populations – filed a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue the Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD) “for ongoing operation of Dwinnell Dam and associated diversions in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).”

In a letter to KRK the regional grange organization – representing all of the granges in Siskiyou County – called the threatened lawsuit against the dam “pernicious to our members, fraudulent in its accusations and frivolous in its nature.”

According to KRK, the MWCD is responsible for alleged unlawful take of ESA listed coho salmon due to the effects of its Dwinell Dam and reservoir (Lake Shastina).

KRK alleges that the existence and operation of the dam has degraded the quality and quantity of habitat for coho by blocking upstream migration, harming water quality and altering the hydrology of the Shasta River.

“The Montague Water Conservation District has had 15 years to apply for federal ESA take permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service since coho salmon were listed as threatened,” KRK Executive Director Erica Terence said. “If the district hasn’t done it by now, it is definitely out of compliance.”

Both KRK and the MWCD have been silent on the issue recently, due to the pending litigation.

The SCPG letter to KRK states, “Your proposed action, if successful, will cause irreparable harm not only to all our members, but also Siskiyou County in its entirety.”

According to the grange group, the allegations of illegal take of coho “are not based on accepted scientific facts nor are those facts, as cited, backed up by reputable peer review of that science.”

The SCPG says in the letter that they “are not opposed to helping fish habitat and a healthy environment.” However, the letter states, “Our granges and their members are only interested in a balanced approach that benefits the environment as a whole.”

Ironically, KRK also stated in a previous statement regarding the potential lawsuit that they are also working for a balanced approach to solving watershed issues.

“We want to balance water use in the Shasta so that both farm and fish-dependent communities can thrive. The two are not mutually exclusive, but we have to learn how to better share the resource,” Terence said.

In a brief statement issued by the MWCD shortly after KRK issued their intent to file suit, the district said the environmental advocacy group’s announcement was “disturbing given the district has been very pro-active in making every effort to meet or exceed the ever-changing regulations governing the distribution of its members’ water rights.”

According to the MWCD press release, “The district has also made substantial efforts to work with the governing agencies to improve habitat while preserving their members’ rights. Unfortunately, the Notice of Intent to Sue from the Klamath Riverkeeper contains substantial inaccuracies. The district is hopeful that once the true facts are known, the notice will be withdrawn.”



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