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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           

October 22, 2003                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Smith Calls on Klamath Task Force to Move Quickly on National Academies’ Recommendations

            WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) wrote to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, who co-chairs of the President’s Interagency Task Force on the Klamath Basin, urging the swift implementation of the high priority recommendations for the recovery of listed suckers and salmon contained in the National Academies’ National Research Council’s report entitled, “Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin: Causes of Decline and Strategies for Recovery”.  The report, commissioned by Secretary Norton, was released yesterday. 

            The full text of the letter is available upon request.

            “I believe the report provides a great opportunity to end the confrontational approach by some interest groups that has targeted Klamath Project irrigators, and begin to build a collaborative, basin-wide effort to recover salmon and suckers without destroying the local agricultural economy.” wrote Smith. 

            The report states that, “(r)ecovery of endangered suckers and threatened coho salmon in the Klamath basin cannot be achieved by actions that are exclusively or primarily focused on operation of USBR’s Klamath Project.”  The report also found that Klamath Project operations were not responsible for the 2002 fish kill in the lower Klamath River. 

            A number of the recommendations in the report have been discussed for years; some are contained in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s April 1993 recovery plan for the listed sucker species.  In addition, Smith  proposed many of these same actions to Secretary Norton during their meeting in September 2001 and several of these action items were subsequently contained in the Bureau of Reclamation’s Biological Assessment on the Klamath Project, dated February 25, 2002.

            “I believe this report provides us with an opportunity to move forward with actions that will actually recover salmon and suckers, without decimating the local economy,” wrote Smith. 




Caroline Mullen Espinosa

Press Secretary

Senator Gordon Smith

202/228-1823 - direct

202/228-0521 - fax





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