Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
"They misspent $20 million dollars"
Coos County Commissioner weighs in
on fisheries management and agriculture
Coastal Fishermen and Klamath Farmers Part 2
Coos County Commissioner Chairman John Griffith told the Courier that today fishermen and farmers can’t encourage their children to follow their occupations because they don’t know from year to year whether they themselves will have a job. He said shutting down fishing seasons and farms effect entire communities. Parts shops, tire stores, boat businesses, and laborers need guaranteed employment to survive.
Klamath Fisheries thrived for 100 years, until
California Department of Fish and Game managed
the fish populations on the Klamath in a proper and
responsible way for 100 years, said Cook. There were
enough fish for Indians and commercial and sports
fishermen. Irrigation practices and intensive
logging at the time did not effect the fish
"With total disregard for the well being of the
people of this country, looking solely after there
own interests, the green movement tied the hands of
the California Department of Fish and Game in the
early 1980s," said Cook. "They (greens) began
dictating policy on the Klamath through injunctions
and litigation, and by 1987 the California
Department of Fish and Game could no longer do their
Congress created a law to raise fish again by employing unemployed commercial fishermen and Indians.
Congress created a program to raise fish in
hatcheries and rearing ponds; it’s called the
Klamath Restoration Act of 1987. "In consultation
with a task force, the Secretary must formulate,
establish and implement a 20-year program to restore
the anadromous fish populations of the area to
optimum levels and maintain those levels, improve
existing hatcheries and rearing ponds; implement an
intensive, short-term stocking program to rebuild
run sizes; improve upstream and downstream migration
by removing obstacles and providing facilities for
avoiding obstacles. To the extent practical, any
restoration work must be performed by unemployed
commercial fishermen, Indians and others whose
livelihood depends upon area fishery resources."
That is the law according to the Klamath Restoration
Act of 1987.
"Only $1,671,542 or 10% 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's
in a recent report. KRBFTF has received $16,182,197
of the $21 million authorized
"A whopping $3,101,057 or 19% was spent on "assessment, monitoring and research," states Armstrong, which includes counting the 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 Council had 20 years to fix this river and they’ve just screwed up everyone’s lives, Cook said. He wants CDFG to go back to raising fish.
"After 20 years of a mismanaged Klamath River experiment, the Oregon commercial salmon trollers were forced to file suite against the National Marine Fishery Service to get them to manage the river for everyone and not just special interest groups," said Cook. "We’ve only asked that they follow the law.
The lawsuit asks that they count hatchery fish along with so-called natural spawners since they are genetically the same, and that they lower the goal of 98,000 natural spawners.
"You’d be a fool to say there are original wild
salmon of the Klamath after 100 years of hatcheries
and importing fish from other rivers," said Cook.
"NMFS has spun this to say ‘natural spawners’ now
need protection since the court of law ruled that
hatchery and wild fish are genetically the same."
Klamath Project water allocation and Pacific
coast fishing seasons are all based on Klamath River
"It’s wrong. It’s detrimental to everything; it’s destroying fish," said Cook. "It’s destroying people. By not having that extensive hatchery program, look what it’s done to Klamath irrigators and commercial fishermen."
In last week’s first article of the series, coastal commercial fishermen told Klamath Water Users that Oregon salmon trollers don’t belong to Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen, a group claiming they represent coastal fishermen. They described the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, which was designed to protect fishermen and their vessels for their country’s defense, and how that Act has been ignored. Irrigators explained that the Klamath River coho management is detrimental for fall Chinook, yet fall Chinook numbers are the basis for planning coastal fishing seasons, a lose-lose situation.
Coming soon in the series are Klamath fish and
irrigation myths, NMFS-funded 20-mile farms,
restrictions, predators and historical data.
Page Updated: Saturday August 24, 2013 01:51 AM Pacific
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