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 Siskiyou County Supervisor District 5 Marcia Armstrong's latest column on
Where did the federal Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force money go?

Fall Chinook salmon have returned to spawn on the lower Scott and Shasta
Rivers. (Coho arrive later in the year and are not allowed to be fished.)
According to a report given last week at the Klamath River Basin Fisheries
Task Force (KRBFTF) meeting in Klamath Falls, 1,500 fish have been counted
at the Shasta video weir, which is better than the same time last year, but
not as good as the year prior. Bogus Creek has had similar results. So far,
Iron Gate hatchery is about where it was last year. The hatchery has
already taken its quota of 8,000 eggs, but will continue to take more
because this year's fish have been small and their eggs have not been ripe.
100 live fish have been counted in the Scott River canyon. Rain is needed
to bring the run up into the valley. This year, the spring Chinook run in
the Salmon River was disastrous at about 90 fish. Last year's count was 439
and the year prior was 1,300.

Ocean fishing for Klamath Chinook was severely curtailed this year because
of last year's depressed run and concerns that the population trend was in
decline. This year, the Yurok tribe limited its catch to two days a week
and only eight hours during the day to conserve fish runs. As confirmed by
creel counts, in-river sports fisheries have already met quotas on all but
the Lower Trinity.

The federal Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force (KRBFTF) was
established as an advisory board to the Secretary of the Department of
Interior by the Klamath Act in 1986 as a 20 year plan to "restore
anadromous fisheries of the Klamath River basin." Congressed authorized a
total of $21 million, or $1 million annually over 20 years, to implement
the program. (For comparison, the Trinity River got $11.3 million just for
this year.) The Act is now winding down into its final year and the board
is working on its accomplishments report through the end of fiscal year 2005.

So far, the KRBFTF has received only $16,182,197 of the $21 million
authorized. $2,324,204 or 14% of this has been spent on support of the
federal committees. $2,432,286 or 15% has been spent on program
administration. $1,723,805 or 11% has been spent on actual project
management. $9,701,922 or 60% has been spent on what is termed "projects."

According to a draft "accomplishments" report being reviewed by the Task
Force, only $1,671,542 or 10% of the whole was actually spent on
on-the-ground habitat restoration projects. $1,270,416 or 8% was spent on
small tribal hatchery rearing ponds. $202,610 or 1% was spent on education.
$1,6338,863 or 10% was spent on coordination and planning (watershed

A whopping $3,101,057 or 19% was spent on "assessment, monitoring and
research." Some of this has do to with a shift by the agencies from their
own budgets to the Task Force as a cash cow to cover the expense of
counting fish. These numbers are plugged into the computerized "megatable,"
that supports population projections of fall Chinook. The projections are
used by the Klamath Fishery Management Council to make fishing allocations
among the commercial fishermen, tribes and inland sports fishermen. The
figures also are helpful to the watershed councils in measuring the
effectiveness of restoration efforts. However, the costs seem to have
overwhelmed the scarce money available for actual habitat improvement

In total, the Scott River watershed received only $1,029,897 or 6% of
Klamath Act Funds. $421,054  or 41% of this went to habitat
restoration;  $216,644 went to assessment, monitoring and research;
$345,583 went to coordination and planning; and $46,616 to education. In
total, the Shasta River watershed received $1,165,131 or 7% of Klamath Act
Funds. $482,328 or 41% of this went to habitat restoration; $281,373 went
to assessment, monitoring and research; and $401,380 went to coordination
and planning. The Salmon River received $865,791 total. Of this, $369,541
went to coordination and planning; $328,124 went to assessment, monitoring
and research; $86,025 to education; and $82,100 or 9% went to habitat
restoration projects.

It is also interesting to note that the lower Klamath sub-basin received
$509,743 for habitat restoration projects and the mid-Klamath received
$176.267 for habitat projects. (All figures do not include leveraged funds
or in-kind contributions.)

The Technical Working Group of the KRBFTF has been tasked with looking at
population trends of various fisheries during the same period. I am hopeful
that the Task Force will take a look at the success of their funding
allocation strategies over the years in accomplishing their goal of
restoring anadromous fisheries. I cannot help but feel that if they had
actually received the money promised by Congress and had they been able to
spend more money toward on the ground projects, that fish populations may
have benefited.




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