Hoopa Valley Tribe Chairperson Clifford Lyle Marshall will testify Tuesday before a congressional subcommittee on Trinity River restoration issues.

Marshall will be joined by representatives from the Yurok Tribe, California Trout and the Friends of the Trinity River. The subcommittee will also hear from the Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Valley Project Water Association and the Northern California Power Agency.

The hearing concerns a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), House Bill 2733, which would earmark funding for Trinity River restoration if passed.

The restoration funds are part of a record of decision given by then Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in December 2000. Babbitt, along with the Yurok Tribe, determined a course of action to restore the watershed.

Babbitt’s decision led to a fund overseen by the Central Valley Project, which diverts fees paid for water into a pool reserved for environmental mitigation.

Marshall said restoration efforts were delayed by a lawsuit, but are now about three years into a 10-year process.

The crux of the issue arises from competing legislation, HR 24, which stems from a lawsuit concerning the San Joaquin River.

For 18 years, environmental groups fought to restore flows on the San Joaquin below Friant Dam. In 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council won a settlement that called for restoring flows on the river.

The San Joaquin River Restoration Project is a mammoth affair that may cost upward of $440 million, according to HR 24.

Marshall, among others, is afraid the San Joaquin project, which is funded partially through the Central Valley Project, will diminish the available funds. A news release from the Hoopa Valley Tribe states the San Joaquin River could draw as much as 25 percent of the fund, meaning there would be less available for the Trinity River.

Craig Noble, a spokesperson for the NRDC, said by phone Friday the San Joaquin project will not take funds from the Trinity.

But the water negotiator for the Trinity, Danny Jordan, said the Hoopa Valley Tribe was denied a seat at the negotiating table for the San Joaquin legislation.

“It is very sad that we were neither seen nor heard until others had made a decision at the expense of our environment,” Jordan stated in a news release.

The tribal chairperson concurs. “The effort to restore the San Joaquin is a good project,” Marshall said, “but it can’t be done at the expense of everyone else.”

Thompson weighed in by e-mail Friday. He said, “HR 2733 would provide a dedicated funding source at the levels necessary to ensure full and timely implementation of the Trinity River Record of Decision.”

He also said, “Expediting the successful restoration of the Trinity is critical to restoring and maintaining fish populations in the Klamath Basin and along the North Coast, which our local industries, communities and cultures depend upon.”

The two bills are both in subcommittee, so it may be months before any decision is made at the federal level.

Marshall is not sure the river and its fish can wait that long. He was hesitant to draw conclusions, but he agreed last week that conditions on the Trinity resemble those that preceded the 2002 fish kill.

“We’re going to hold our breath and hope the predictions are true that there’s going to be a significant run this year,” he said.

Marshall concluded, “It’s our river, but we can’t save it by ourselves.”

The hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Water and Power is set for 10 a.m. EST in Washington, D.C., and will be webcast at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/.