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4th Annual Klamath Salmon Relay Run is going to the Klamath dams

Friday, May 26, 2006
7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Event Type:
Melodie George
Location Details:
The relay will begin at the mouth of the Klamath River, in which a boat relay will arrive at Johnson’s Landing at 7 a.m. Runners starting at Johnson’s Landing will continue to South Fork Bridge, 5 miles out of Willow Creek on East 299 and in a separate leg continue North on 96 to the Iron Gate Dam. This year’s event will take three days to complete. The run is estimated to end at Iron Gate on the 28th between 3:30 and 4:00p.m., where an action oriented public awareness celebration will be taking place. There will be a Rally and discussion on current fish and watershed issues as well as a performance, and a letter signing.

Power to the Fish People
What is the salmon run relay all about?

In light of the fish kill that claimed 72,000 plus salmon along the Lower Klamath in September 2002, the tribes, several organizations and the youth of the communities in the Klamath-Trinity region are coordinating a relay run to be held on May 26th, 27th and 28th. With this event we hope to: unite the communities affected by the lack of water and fish in our rivers; raise consciousness of the impacts to our people’s well-being, health, and culture with the lack of water and fish in our rivers; and bring attention to the need for better water quality in our rivers to help ensure there won't be a repeat of 2002's catastrophic fish kill.

Who is the Salmon Run? This event is being sponsored by the Klamath-Trinity Service Learning Youth and Advisory Board in collaboration with the Hoopa Valley High School Native American Club, Kima:w Medical Center, Mid Klamath Watershed Council, Q’o:so:s Network Group, the Hupa Tribe, the Yurok Tribe and the Karuk Tribe. Many of the runners are representing different organizations as well, such as CA Indian Basketweavers Assoc. What caused the fish kill in the first place? Due to political pressure to provide water to the agricultural interests in Oregon, water to the Klamath River was severely cut back in the summer of 2002 causing a disease outbreak that killed over 34,000 adult chinook salmon. The Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Klamath Tribes, and others are working to restore the fisheries. One of the biggest problems they face is that the Bush administration has taken a no-compromise attitude and violated the needs of the fish, the tribes, and ignored sound science. What happens when the salmon suffer?

Salmon is a main staple of the native diet in this area and is a rich source of protein and vitamins A, D, B2, B6, niacin and riboflavin. It is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids that help in the prevention of diabetes, coronary artery disease, and obesity. A lot of times salmon is replaced by foods that aren’t as good for us, and without salmon, our medicine, we get sick. When the salmon suffer, us people do too.

Dam Opportunity!

There are five hydroelectric dams on the mainstem Klamath River which are owned by PacifiCorp.
These dams cause serious harm to the Klamath River and its fisheries by making already poor water quality worse, trapping spawning gravels, and completely blocking all fish passage into the upper basin. Trinity River fish are also affected since they need the lower Klamath River for rearing and migration. This in turn harms the health and vitality of our people and communities.
The dams’ federal license expires in 2006 and PacifiCorp is currently in the process of filing for a new license which would govern the dams for the next 50 years. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the authority to decide what the new license will require in order to balance the needs of society. Such requirements often include provisions for fish passage and can even include dam removal as FERC has required in other places.
In their Final License Application, PacifiCorp has proposed no significant changes to dam operations and they have completely ignored calls for adequate fish passage. A full range of fish passage and dam alternatives must be considered in order for FERC to balance the needs of society and restore our fishery.
PacifiCorp’s dams produce a relatively small amount of electricity (150 megawatts max), which as the California Energy Commission pointed out, could be easily replaced by new power sources planned for the region, including a 1,000 megawatt natural gas plant to be built by PacifiCorp near Klamath Falls.
Many people believe that the farmers in the upper basin rely on these dams for their water; however, this is completely false. Even if all the hydroelectric dams were removed, the upper basin farmers would be unaffected.

What can you do?

Given the 50 year life of the new license, the time is now to decide the future of our fisheries: continue to walk the same path that has brought fisheries collapse and economic depression, or change course to a path of fishery and economic recovery and health. The crossroad stands before us now. You can help chart a new course to recovery and health by: writing to CA Governor Schwarzenegger and CA Senators, attending upcoming FERC meetings, or contacting Craig Tucker, Klamath Campaign Coordinator at 530-627-3446 and helping in the public awareness campaign for the rivers and fisheries.

Added to the calendar on Tue, Apr 11, 2006 3:27PM
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