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State News - StatesmanJournal.com
Tribes will lobby to aid fish passage

Conservationists and fishermen also will travel to Scotland

The Associated Press
July 9, 2004

GRANTS PASS — Indian tribes, commercial fisherman and conservationists are going to Scotland to pressure PacifiCorp’s parent company to give salmon a way to pass dams on the Klamath River.

Representatives of the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk and Klamath tribes, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and Friends of the River plan to make their case at the July 23 annual general stockholders meeting of Scottish Power in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“We think it’s important that they see and talk to a real live Yurok and other Indians of the Klamath River,” said Troy Fletcher, executive director of the Yurok Tribe, whose reservation lies along the lowest reach of the Klamath.

“They need to see that we’re human beings. They need to see we have culture and traditions that have been here since the beginning of time. And they need to see that their actions have very real impact on our people.”

The tribes, conservationists and fishing organizations met with PacifiCorp during the past two years to discuss their desire to open 350 miles of habitat upstream of the dams to salmon. But when the utility sent its application for a new operating license to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March, there was no proposal for restoring salmon passage.

The coalition hopes to be able to get into the Scottish Power meeting as guests of stockholders and make their case to the company, said Craig Tucker of Friends of the River, a conservation group. They also are talking to investment groups that hold major blocks of Scottish Power stock.

“Scottish Power has an international reputation as a green energy provider,” Tucker said. “I’m hoping that once they hear the story of what is happening on the Klamath directly, that they’ll want to help.”

Glen Spain of the Pacific Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, which represents California commercial salmon fishermen, said it was important to educate the managers of Scottish Power about the cultural and economic harm their outdated dams were causing people in the Klamath Basin.

Once the third-largest producer of salmon on the West Coast, the Klamath River has produced only a fraction of its historic runs since the series of six dams was built between 1908 and 1962. To protect the Klamath’s struggling salmon runs, federal fisheries managers have cut back seasons off Northern California and Southern Oregon.

The utility has estimated that building fish ladders to help spawning adults swim over dams and screens to keep young fish migrating downstream out of turbines would cost $100 million.


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