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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Coast | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice
Hoopa Valley Tribe Rejects Klamath River Deal
The Hoopa Valley Tribe rejected the latest draft of the Klamath River Basin Restoration Agreement (KRBRA) released today because the agreement lacks adequate water assurances for fish.
"Hoopa will retain its rights to defend the Klamath," said Clifford Lyle Marshall, Tribal Chairman. "We will work with any and all parties to remove the dams and assure a restored healthy river."
Media Contacts: Clifford Lyle Marshall (530) 625-4211 ext. 161
Mike Orcutt (530) 625-4267 ext. 13
Tom Schlosser (206) 386-5200
HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE REJECTS KLAMATH RIVER DEAL BECAUSE IT
LACKS ASSURED WATER FOR FISH
Hoopa, Calif. – The Hoopa Valley Tribe of northern California will not endorse
the latest draft of the Klamath River Basin Restoration Agreement (KRBRA) because the
agreement lacks adequate water assurances for fish. Despite being in the minority among
the negotiators, Tribal Chairman Clifford Lyle Marshall said Hoopa would never waive
its fishery-based water rights, as demanded by federal and other negotiators, in a deal
providing no assurances for fisheries restoration.
“What began as dam removal negotiations got turned into a water deal.
PacifiCorp left the room two years ago and negotiations with the company have since
been separate from this negotiation. The terms of this so-called restoration agreement
make the right to divert water for irrigation the top priority, trumping salmon water needs
and the best available science on the river,” Marshall said. “Such an upside down deal
threatens the goal of restoration and the Hoopa Tribe’s fishing rights,” Hoopa
Councilman Joe LeMieux said. “We cannot waive the rights of generations to come.
Dangling a carrot like this will not work for Hoopa.”
The Hoopa objections come after three years of negotiations with farm irrigators,
environmental and fishing groups, government agencies, counties, and other tribes. The
Tribe has been a leading advocate to protect water rights and fish habitat in the Klamath
and Trinity rivers that run through their reservation. “We have worked for years with all
the parties to forge an agreement that genuinely restores Klamath River salmon habitat.
Unfortunately, this deal locks away too much water for irrigators with no recourse for
salmon when the fish need more water. Salmon need enough water, plain and simple,”
Marshall said the proposed billion dollar deal altogether ignores the National
Academy of Science’s recommendations in its November 2007 report on the U.S. -
contracted Hardy Phase II Instream Flow Assessment in the Klamath River.
Congressional members have urged the use of the Hardy Report to protect coho salmon
from jeopardy. Marshall said the deal also dismisses the only independent scientific
reviews of the agreement itself. “This latest draft is not a modern science-based river
restoration plan. It looks more like an old West irrigation deal, guarantees for irrigators,
empty promises for the Indians.”
The Tribal Chairman also said that agreement proponents talk about helping the
river’s fish, but no real fisheries restoration objectives, standards, or assurances are in the
agreement. “Some parties seem to think there’s no other way to remove the dams. The
declining fish population tells us the river is being compromised to death. Hoopa will
retain its rights to defend the Klamath. We will work with any and all parties to remove
the dams and assure a restored healthy river.” ###