What does responsible resource management look like?

Earlier this fall SB 332 was signed into law by Governor Newsom; the bill adjusted liability laws that previously alienated burn bosses from taking responsibility for burn projects. These liability laws were a significant hurdle to reintroducing prescribed and cultural burning, and the signing of this bill is a win for Californians. Prescribed and cultural burns present a vital opportunity to protect our river communities from the increasing risk of forest fire, exacerbated by decades of fire suppression and climate change.

Indigenous people throughout California have performed burning practices since time immemorial; these practices were outlawed in the last 150 years to the detriment of our landscapes and communities. If you haven't had the opportunity to read it, the Karuk Tribe released a report in 2020 on the importance of cultural burning and the barriers that keep us from utilizing this tool to its full potential. The report identified these now-adjusted liability laws as barriers, so it is nice to see some progress. You can read recently published reports of people's experiences from burn events this fall in the "News" section, and you can find the Karuk Tribe's "Good Fire" report in the "In Case you Missed it" section below.

The theme of broken resource management continued in stories about fish hatcheries and water diversions. The Klamath Tribes in the upper basin are investing in fish hatcheries as an avenue to save the C'waam and Koptu, endangered sucker species endemic to Klamath Lake and critical to Tribal member's culture and way of life. While at the opposite end of the basin, there is a proposed Atlantic Salmon farm slated for Humboldt Bay. And the Bureau of Reclamation is again faced with a decision with no winners, deciding who gets water, birds, or fish?

A piece from outside the Klamath basin, "When Dams fell, Salmon Returned," from the Lewiston Tribune, offers some hope. The article describes the robust return of salmon and steelhead to the free-flowing Elwha – a portent of things to come on the Klamath.

Klamath News


In Case You Missed It...