The Karuk Tribe has entered into cooperative
agreements with both the U.S. Geological Survey and
the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife to monitor and assess water quality
conditions in the Klamath and its major tributaries.
The largest contributor of water pollution
entering our ancestral territory comes from the
Klamath River itself.
This river once supported a very productive
salmon fishery, and provided a main food source and
way of life for our people.
Now because of upriver actions such as the
construction of dams, inefficient water usage,
diversions, and polluted runoff, many of our salmon
species and seasonal runs are in danger of becoming
The Klamath River can get as high as 80 degrees
Fahrenheit (25*C) in the summer, when migrating
adults and growing juveniles need temperatures below
68 degrees (16.5*C) in order to survive and grow
Elevated temperatures and nutrient levels from
agricultural runoff cause massive amounts of algae
and other plant life to grow and flourish within the
This plant life decays at night using up oxygen
that the salmon need to survive, dipping dissolved
oxygen levels down as low as 2-4 mg/l.
Fish become stressed when DO levels fall below 5
mg/l. Prolonged stress stops growth, increases
susceptibility to disease and eventually will cause
Our Tribe has documented and witnessed large
fish kills, in the thousands, within the Klamath
River as the result of prolonged fish stress.