California's outdated water rights system favors industrial agriculture over salmon and Native people.
Fish have a sacred role for the Klamath Tribes in the Klamath Basin, which spans part of Southern Oregon and Northern California. An 1864 treaty gives tribes the "exclusive right of taking fish in the streams and lakes,” but drought and poor water quality are killing the fish and causing a fight over resources between indigenous tribes and white farmers who were promised certain water allocations of their own. A new Fault Lines documentary by Al Jazeera called "When the Water Stopped," delves into the different sides of the conflict that is fueled by climate change, decades of federal land mismanagement and racism. According to activist and Klamath tribal member Joey Gentry, “our water crisis still exists today because of racism against the tribe, and racism against the tribe exists, in part, today because of our water crisis." We'll talk with Gentry and environmental reporter Emma Marris about the ongoing conflict and what it will take to resolve it.
As of December 14, the Klamath Basin has received 8.6 inches of precipitation since October 1. Down significantly from last month’s update, that’s 86% of the median amount of precipitation accumulated by this time in the water year over the period of record.
“You can’t design a worse evolutionary strategy for the Anthropocene”
There are many variants on this quote, and we’ve heard them often in reference to the status of native fishes in California and other freshwater organisms worldwide. Indeed, the statement rings true for Pacific salmon, but especially spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in California. And although the current situation certainly looks bleak overall for endangered salmon (Moyle et al. 2017), there are signs in a few corners that the arrow may finally be pointing up.
In the Pacific Northwest, salmon are so much a part of the landscape that their DNA is in the trees — literally.
The Yurok Tribe recently received a little over a half million dollars to increase salmonid habitats in two local creeks that feed into the Klamath River.
PORTLAND — The Oregon Legislature on Monday agreed to send more than $22 million to the Klamath Basin, while also passing additional safety nets to keep thousands of people housed who are currently struggling to pay rent or are facing eviction during the pandemic.
This turkey vulture No. 80, sighted on a power-line tower recently at the Arcata Marsh, was trapped and tagged on July 13, 2011 in Korbel as part of the research efforts of the Yurok Tribe Northern California Condor Restoration Program.
Designated months that recognize Native American Heritage and governor-appointed advisory councils are opportunities for Californians to reflect on the history of Indigenous peoples in our state, but they are not sufficient for us to redress the historic wrongs suffered by California’s tribes.
Rising from the Ashes, from Trout Unlimited, follows the scientists studying the summer steelhead resurgence in Washington’s Elwha River. Since the removal of the Elwha Dam in 2011 and the Glines Canyon Dam in 2014, these fish are now free to run from the Pacific Ocean up into the Olympic Peninsula.