Friday, August 22, 2014

Take Action: Drought Threatens Klamath Salmon

With California gripped in one of the worst droughts in decades, concern is mounting about the stress high river temperatures are placing on that migrating salmon and steelhead in the Klamath River. The Klamath basin has numerous dams, including 4 that are eventually slated for removal on the upper river. These slow water impoundments, coupled with an already hot and arid climate mean that during the summer water temperatures commonly reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures which are lethal to wild salmon if they are exposed for very long. High temperatures also increase the incidence of disease, stressing the immune system of migrating fish and making them susceptible to a number of potentially deadly diseases.

While warm temperatures are a fact of life in the Klamath basin, federal water managers at the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) have the authority to release more cold water at Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River, cooling temperatures for migrating fish in the Klamath and potentially averting another disastrous die off like the one witnessed in 2002, when an estimated 60,000 chinook and steelhead died in the Lower Klamath.

So far they have refused to release more water into the Trinity, and 85% of water being released at Lewiston Dam is being diverted into the Sacramento Valley for irrigation. However, pressure is mounting and last week a coalition of tribes and salmon advocates rallied at the BOR offices to demand more water for salmon in the Klamath. The head of the BOR has announced that they are considering additional releases of water, and a decision is due out next week.

In the meantime, please add your name to the long list of concerned citizens calling for more water for salmon in the Klamath. You can take action here by following the link:

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