“Gov. John Kitzhaber, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Mike Conner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, met with the [Klamath Basin] task force at the Oregon Institute of Technology to celebrate preliminary agreements reached by upper Basin stakeholders to allocate limited water resources and stabilize agricultural, economic and environmental interests in the region.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Curtis Knight and Glen Spain:
“Today’s working watersheds provide drinking water, produce hydropower, grow food, provide recreational opportunities and support valuable fisheries for commercial, sport and tribal interests. Saving these working watersheds can no longer mean rewinding them back to some pristine, romantic past.
“Fewer than half the salmon expected to enter the Klamath River in California this year have moved inland, but environmental scientist Sara Borok said water conditions are favorable and it’s still too early to gauge the final count.
“Only about 106,000 fish have made it into the Klamath and its tributaries, Borok, a scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said.”
“But thanks to the new biological opinion tying needs in Upper Klamath Lake for listed shortnose and Lost River suckers and the needs of threatened coho salmon in the Klamath River, Klamath Project irrigators had a baseline to work with and a security they haven’t had for more than a decade.”
“Upset about not being included on the Klamath Basin Task Force, Siskiyou County supervisors and Klamath County commissioners Monday decided to create their own task force to study and make recommendations on Klamath Basin-wide water issues.
“Commissioners and supervisors from both counties expressed disappointment about not being asked to be part of a task force created earlier this year by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
“A task force working on an agreement for sharing scarce water in the Klamath Basin has made progress on securing low-cost power for irrigators but will need more time to complete its work, officials said Wednesday.
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today [Sept. 16] announces it has awarded a $1.3 million grant under its Performance Partnership Grant Program to the Yurok Tribe in Klamath, Calif. to support the tribe’s efforts to control water pollution, enhance the tribe’s wetlands preservation and restoration program, and provide community outreach and staff environmental training.
“Following a two day hearing, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on August 22, 2013, lifted a temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting excess releases of stored water into the Trinity River from the Central Valley Project’s Trinity River Division.
“Until this week, a record salmon run swimming up the Klamath River faced soupy-warm water, high bacteria levels and low flows that add up to deadly conditions. But a federal court bowed to scientific testimony and bitter history in choosing fish over farms and released extra water to smooth the spawning migration.”
“A federal judge late Thursday allowed the government to release water into the Klamath River to protect spawning salmon, saying the danger of a major fish kill outweighed the loss of irrigation water to Central Valley farmers.”
“A federal judge in Fresno on Thursday rejected a request by the Westlands Water District to stop a water release from Trinity Lake in far Northern California that is intended to protect a large run of salmon. …
“Westlands and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which represents many west San Joaquin Valley districts, sued to stop the planned water releases.”
“A U.S. District judge ruled late Thursday that water can be released from Northern California’s Trinity Reservoir to prevent a salmon kill in the lower Klamath River, but the amount of water involved will be far less than the federal government initially asked for.
“The decision of whether to release water from the Trinity River should be reached by around noon today [August 22], Judge Lawrence O’Neill announced after a full day of hearing testimonies on Wednesday from tribal officials, fishermen and federal scientists fighting to prevent a massive fish kill. …
“The federal Bureau of Reclamation had authorized the flows to begin Aug.
“Members of two Northern California tribes Tuesday demonstrated at Westlands Water District, asking district officials to drop their lawsuit against water releases that would protect a large run of salmon.
“The Hoopa and Yurok members are in Fresno this week for U.S. District Court hearings in the case, which begin Wednesday.
“A massive tug of war for water on the Trinity River needed to keep a bumper crop of salmon alive is playing out in a Fresno federal court this week. Officials expect more than 271,000 adult salmon to return to the Klamath and Trinity River within days. In many stretches of the rivers, warm water temperatures lethal to spawning salmon await their return. The Bureau of Reclamation, not wanting a massive fish kill on its hands again, planned to release at least 62,000 acre-feet of cold water from Trinity Lake to cool the rivers.