Monday, March 3, 2014

Dwinnell Lawsuit Settlement and the future of Shasta River Salmon

On December 20th the Karuk Tribe and Klamath Riverkeeper issued a joint press release announcing settlement of a lawsuit they filed in federal court in 2012 challenging the legality of Dwinnell Dam and Reservoir. Dwinnell Dam is located on the Shasta River, a major Klamath River tributary. The dam and associated facilities are owned and operated by the Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD).

 Dwinnell Dam and Reservoir from the air

Press reports on the settlement where universally positive, mirroring claims and quotes from the press release. The article reporting on the Settlement in the ECONEWS was written by Craig Tucker, the Karuk Tribe's Klamath River Coordinator, one of the principle architects of the Settlement. Only the Two Rivers Tribune suggested that there might be another view; it quoted from an e-mail by KlamBlog editor Felice Pace which called the Settlement a sell-out. In a letter to the TRT Pace has since apologized for using the term "sell-out" while continuing to question whether the Settlement is in the interest of Klamath Salmon.

In this post KlamBlog provides readers with information on the Settlement, and how settling parties have characterized it, as well as information on the impact of Dwinnell Dam, Dwinnell Reservoir (also known as Lake Shastina) and associated operations on Shasta River water quality, aquatic habitat and salmon. 

Whenever possible this post quotes directly from reports prepared by experts for the Karuk Tribe and Klamath Riverkeeper. In accordance with KlamBlog's mission, the aim is to provide KlamBlog readers with the information and analysis needed for them to reach their own conclusions about the settlement and whether it is in the best interest of Klamath Salmon.

Here are the major reports relied upon in this post, including on-line links to them:
  • "Removal of Dwinnell Dam and Alternatives", Prepared by Thomas Cannon for the Karuk Tribe, December 2011. The report is available at this link
  • "Effects of Dwinnell Dam on Shasta River Salmon and Consideration for Prioritizing Recovery Actions", Prepared by Larry Lestelle for the Karuk Tribe, March 2012. The report is available at this link.

  • "Request for Recognition of Shasta River as Flow Impaired and Addition to the 2012 California 303d List", prepared by Patrick Higgins for Klamath Riverkeeper, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman Associations, the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Klamath Forest Alliance, August 2010. The report is available at this link.