Letter urges release of water into Klamath, officials question Trinity River Act
EUREKA- To avoid a fish kill in the lower Klamath River similar to the last one seen in 2002, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the Hoopa Valley Tribe wrote a joint letter to the federal government urging them to reconsider the release of water into the river.
On Tuesday morning the supervisors announced that they were on board with the idea and in full support of the letter. The Board also authorized the Chair to respond as necessary with a declaration to the federal government asking them to honor the Trinity River Act.
The Act is from 1955 and authorizes the construction and operation of the Trinity Division to divert water to the Central Valley but to make 50,000 acre-feet of that water available to Humboldt County and downstream users. According to county officials, the 50,000 acre-feet of water is assumed in the water already coming down the river, but the county claims the 50,000 thousand feet of water is to be allocated on top of what already is in the river.
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chair Ryan Sundberg said, "There are huge agencies with a lot of money down south who think we are taking their water and it scares me to death that they think we are taking their water when it is here coming down our river. This is a very real issue and we are fighting it as hard as we can and we are not letting it go"
A commercial fisherman at the meeting said this delay is leaving the fishery on the verge of another fish kill catastrophe like the one that that happened in 2002.
Marge Salo said, “The federal government came out and said this was not going to happen again, and it is. >>
The flow releases were set to begin a week ago but were suspended pending further orders from the federal government. Many fishermen said it might already be too late and Salo said if another kill hits the Klamath, it will be three times worse than it was before.