The Klamath River Fishery Management
Council learned it costs the federal
government about $160,000 a year to
support its meetings.
FISHERMAN: ‘WE WILL RECOVER THE
Keith Wilkinson, a semi-retired
commercial fisherman and guide who has
represented the state of Oregon on
Klamath River federal advisory
committees since their start in 1986,
thinks it’s been worth the effort.
“We haven’t recovered the fisheries, but
I think we will recover the fisheries.
And I think we will because we have
raised the level of public displayment
that we didn’t have 20 years ago,”
Wilkinson said during a break in the
October fishery management council
What began as concern over dwindling
fish runs – and a public quarrel between
the state of California and American
Indian fishers over rights to those
salmon – gained new dimensions with the
2001 denial of irrigation water to
Klamath Reclamation Project farmers.
“Historically the fish have always lost.
They lost with urbanization, with dam
building, water projects, you name it,”
In 2005, all of those issues are in play
in the Klamath Basin. Wilkinson said
increased public awareness of the
inter-related issues “can’t help but
lead to recovery” for the fish.
– TAM MOORE
GAO looks at Klamath spending, not fish
Another article on spending:
(Where did the
federal Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force money go?, Siskiyou
County Supervisor Marcia Armstrong 10/23/05)
Oregon Staff Writer
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The 20-year-old program to
restore Klamath River salmon and steelhead isn’t
following the law, the congressional Government
Accountability Office says in a report made
public last month.
But the error may be small – it has to do with
what price to put on matching funds or in-kind
services that go with about $1 million a year in
federal funds invested in restoration work.
The 1986 law that established the program
requires that 50 percent of costs come from
non-federal sources. U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service runs the restoration program out of a
Yreka, Calif., office with advice from the
Klamath River Fish Management Council and the
Klamath River Fisheries Task Force.
The federal advisory committees met together
here in October to receive the GAO report.
“FWS officials have not formulated a methodology
for determining whether state or local
government funds used for a restoration project
originated as federal money,” said the 34-page
report delivered Oct. 19.
The GAO investigation was sought over a year ago
when Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., took issue
with one of the advisory committee
recommendations sent to the secretary of
interior. For a time, the $1 million a year
allocation was denied, shutting down advisory
What came back is a report with five technical
recommendations for getting in compliance with
the law, plus an analysis of how money was spent
in the fiscal years 2000 through 2004.
“They didn’t get into fish,” said Phil Detrich,
the FWS Yreka office supervisor.
Projects in the most recent year involved lots
of data collection on the fishery, including
monitoring disease, plus improvements to fish
passage and fish screens blocking the way into
With the $1 million a year appropriation
expiring in this fiscal year, both the two
federal advisory committees and continuation of
the federal restoration effort are in doubt. The
law creating the program continues, however.
There’s been no comprehensive look at how the
fish are doing since 1992 when the program’s
massive restoration plan was finalized. It is a
guide for the two dozen or so projects
undertaken each year.
GAO found that about 57 percent of FWS funds
went to projects in the past five years, 12
percent to project management, and 23 percent to
program administration, including about $160,000
a year to handle expenses of advisory committee
meetings. The balance of the annual
appropriation was assigned as “overhead” by the
Washington, D.C., and regional FWS offices.
Detrich said early in the 20-year program, the
fisheries task force took a position of “let’s
do it” when restoration projects came up without
looking at the law’s requirement for 50 percent
Current projects do measure the match, but they
take at face value the cooperating government
and tribal estimates of their contribution. FWS
is working on ways to verify the matching funds.
FWS isn’t the only investor in Klamath
restoration. This week the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency funded a multimillion-dollar
study by five Klamath American Indian tribes
into the impact of blue-green algae toxicity on
the fishery. EPA this year helped the Yurok
tribe monitor stream conditions that may be
connected with low survival rates of juvenile
Tam Moore is based in Medford, Ore. His e-mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.