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 They did not restore the Klamath salmon in 20 years
And now they want more money to manage fish and farms

By Jacqui Krizo
Klamath Courier Reporter 2/8/06

KLAMATH BASIN – James L. Moore, in Klamath Falls recently to talk to Klamath Water Users, urges Klamath farmers and his fellow commercial fishermen to write to Congressional Committee members currently deciding whether to fund a task force devoted to Klamath River Basin Fisheries.

"They misspent the $21 million dollars, they ruined the fisheries, and they blamed the Klamath irrigators for lack of fish. And now the group wants to be reauthorized and receive more funds," Moore said.

"It's time for the Task Force to be taken to task."
Another concerned coastal fisherman, Scott Cook, of Bandon, Oregon, agreed.

"They did not follow the law. They did not take care of people they entrusted to put fish in the river," Cook said.

Chris Parilo from California Congressman John Doolittle’s office advised, "Now is the time to write your Congressmen and Senators about your thoughts and concerns regarding the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force."

Locally affected county officials also have criticized the Task Force.

"Only $1,671,542 or 10 percent of the whole was actually spent on on-the-ground habitat restoration projects," stated Siskiyou County District 5 Supervisor and Task Force member Marcia Armstrong in a recent report. The Task Force has received $16,182,197 of the $21million authorized by Congress.

Coos County Commissioner John Griffith said irrigators and commercial fishermen are all producers. He said America’s appetite for resources grows every year while the environmentalists want to import our resources.

Griffith said there have been record runs of salmon, 1.6 million in the Sacramento last summer, but government fisheries managers won’t let fishermen catch them because they might catch a Klamath fish. Griffith said dams were built for resources. Now, environmentalists want only the beautiful and natural and no use of resources.

The Task Force’s studies and recommendations affect farmers, fishermen, loggers, miners and Indians.

- Background on the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force -

"For 100 years the California Department of Fish and Game managed the fish populations on the Klamath in a proper and responsible way, but in the early 1980s they began getting their hands tied," said Cook. "With total disregard for the well being of the people of this country, the green movement looked solely after there own interests and began dictating policy on the Klamath, through injunctions and litigation. By 1987, the CDFG could no longer do their job."
The Klamath Restoration Act of 1987 created a program to assist the Secretary of the Interior restore fisheries by raising fish in hatcheries and rearing ponds. It authorized $21 million to restore and maintain an optimum level of fish, stocking rivers and improving habitat.

The Act was to "provide fishery resources necessary for Indian subsistence and ceremonial purposes, ocean commercial harvest, recreational fishing and the economic health of many local communities." It established a management council and task force.

- Congress and GAO express concerns regarding the Task Force

House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA), Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore), and Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif) were among the Congressmen who requested an investigation of the Klamath Restoration Program, Management Council, and Task Force by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO report concluded, "Fish and Wildlife officials are not able to demonstrate that the Restoration Program is in compliance with the Act’s nonfederal match provision." It also states FWS accounting records do not provide the detailed information needed to assure restrictions are being complied with.

Do you want Congress to reauthorize the Klamath Fisheries Task Force? Here are points Moore and Cook consider important to make in letters to representatives. They identify some of the tasks and accomplishments of the Task Force:

  • When the Act was to provide fish "necessary for Indian subsistence and ceremonial purposes," there previously were a few hundred Indians living on the Klamath River. Cook said now there are thousands of humans, and many Indians are fishing in commercial boats with large GMC motors and selling fish. It is no longer just for their "subsistence" and ceremonies.
    • The Act was intended to put fish in Klamath River by raising them in hatcheries, but NOAA Fisheries counted only so-called wild fish until a judge ruled that all fish must be counted in determining how many fish are in the river. Then NOAA created a scheme that says fish must spawn naturally, outside a hatchery. This practice gave NOAA justification to shut down coastal fishing seasons from Washington to Southern California and blame Klamath irrigators, saying that not enough natural spawners are in the Klamath River. The Task Force supports this idea.
    • There are no indigenous wild fish in the Klamath River because fish have been introduced from other rivers for decades. The notion that native wild fish will flourish when hatcheries are removed is false.
    • Unemployed coastal fishermen and Indians were supposed to be employed in the Klamath Act restoration projects; Indians and environmentalists were employed but coastal fishermen were not.
    • Raising fish in hatcheries as required by the Klamath Restoration Act would provide enough fish for Indians, commercial and sports fishermen, and not force Klamath irrigators to forgo water to create artificially elevated flows in the Klamath River to lure wild fish that do not exist. Using funds for many of the following studies and practices are questioned by the fishermen, who believe they should be spent raising fish as intended by the Klamath Act.
    • At a Task Force meeting, the TWG, Technical Working Group, presented their report stating that mining, dams, timber harvest, roads and agriculture have decimated the fishing runs. Rather than spending funds to put fish in the river, they downsized hatchery propagation and created reports blaming miners, dams, loggers, backroads and agriculture for the lack of wild fish. Their management policies have negatively effected the timber industry, mining, agriculture and fisheries.
    • At the October 2005 Task Force, Chairman John Engbring from the Department of the Interior, chairman of the Task Force, told the Task Force that they have no recovery plan now. He told Petey Brucker of TWG and Klamath Forest Alliance to draw a correlation between restoration projects and salmon numbers to try to justify more funding from Congress. Brucker thought that would be hard to do. Engbring also said rather than presenting the Congressional delegation with a detailed packet of spending and projects, they should show them a few "polished papers." The Task Force discussed hiring a layout person to help make an impressive pamphlet.
    • Ron Reed from the Karuk tribe accepted the individual award from Engbring for Earl Crosby who was not in attendance. Crosby was honored for his work on miles of road decommissioning.
    • The TWG, chaired by Yurok biologist at the time, requested Dr. Hardy to provide technical input. It was Hardy who provided studies to form biological opinions that shut down the Klamath Project in 2001. Hardy was contracted by the Department of Justice, paid for by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to be a witness for the Tribes in water adjudication against Klamath irrigators. The public and Klamath Project irrigators’ scientists were not welcomed to participate in his studies; only tribal biologists worked with him. These studies continue to this day dictating policy demanding water from Project irrigators.
    • Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen has a seat on the Task Force. Scott and Moore said PCFFA does not represent Oregon salmon fishermen or support farmers. PCFFA has filed lawsuits against farmers getting compensation for loss of water, petitioned against farmers getting a continued affordable power rate, blamed irrigators for a fish die-off that was deemed not the fault of irrigators in court and by the National Academy of Science, supports downsizing agriculture and reducing ocean fishing seasons. PCFFA wants the dams to be removed on the Klamath River.

""Write your representatives this February with direction whether to recommission the Klamath River Fisheries Task Force," Cook and Moore urged.

" Feel free to get farm, city and fishing organizations to send recommendations to their representatives, as well."

Farming and fishing communities are both affected by the studies and recommendations of the Task Force. Your elected officials and representatives need to get input on whether the Management Council and Task Force should be re-funded for 20 more years. Following are some addresses for some of the representatives:

Congressman John Doolittle, R Calif., 2410 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515. Ph: (202) 225-2511 Fax: (202) 225-5444

Congressman Greg Walden, R Ore., 1210 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.
Ph: (202) 225-6730 Fax: (202) 225-5774 e-mail: http://walden.house.gov/contactgreg

House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA), 2411 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, Ph: (202) 225-1947, Fax: (202) 226-0861 Email: rpombo@mail.house.gov
Congressman Peter DeFazio D-Ore., 2134 Rayburn H.O.B., Washington DC, 20515, Phone: (202) 225-6416, E-mail: http://defazio.house.gov/emailme.shtml




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