Federal judge calls for collaborative approach to reduce fish deaths
By Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard
Monday, January 30, 2017
A federal judge is set to issue an order in the coming weeks for two federal agencies and a group of local tribes and environmental organizations to work together to develop a new water flow plan for the lower Klamath River.
The decision comes after a six-month-long legal dispute over whether government-controlled dam releases on the lower Klamath River were adequate to prevent die-offs of juvenile coho salmon, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Studies by tribal fisheries researchers found that up to 90 percent of juvenile Klamath River coho salmon became infected by an intestinal parasite in 2014 and 2015 — significantly higher than the 49 percent allowed under the agencies’ own biological opinion.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe’s attorney Tom Schlosser said the judge’s statements during the latest hearing on Jan. 27 indicated that he was in favor of the tribes’ argument, which has been calling on the government agencies to develop a new flow plan rather than modifying it to allow more fish to die during dry years.