Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Trinity ruling a hit downriver
July 15, 2004
A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday approving a
plan to send more water down the Trinity River is
being welcomed as a victory for fish by tribes on
the lower leg of the Klamath River.
"The restoration of the Trinity won't reduce the
need for restoration of the (Upper) Klamath," said
Thomas Schlosser, the Seattle attorney for the
Hoopa Valley Tribe.
In the appeals court case decided by a three-judge
panel of the 9th Circuit, Westlands Water
District, of California's Central Valley Project,
had contended that a federal plan called for by
Congress 20 years ago to increase flows and
restoration projects on the Trinity violated
environmental laws. The Hoopa Valley Tribe opposed
The district can petition for a rehearing by the
appeals court, or it can petition for a review by
the U.S. Supreme Court.
As is, the ruling won't affect flows this year,
Schlosser said, and even with the increased flows
the need for restoration will remain.
"So that (restoration) effort has to be ramped
up," he said.
Upper Klamath Basin water interests and Klamath
Reclamation Project officials have said more cold
water from the Trinity would benefit salmon more
than sending warm water from Upper Klamath Lake.
Dan Keppen, executive director of the Klamath
Water Users Association, said changes in Trinity
flows won't be the sliver bullet that resolves
water issues in the upper and lower Klamath
"We are sensitive to that because we have some of the same downstream interests pointing at the Klamath Project, saying that it is the one solution," he said.
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