Friday, July 29, 2016

Better late than never: Water deal supporters may finally sue to aid Klamath Coho

The Earthjustice press release stated it precisely: "Commercial Fishing & Conservation Groups Join Native American Tribes’ Legal Action to Protect Klamath Salmon and Fishing Communities." After nearly three years of urging by scientists, activists, Native youth and KlamBlog, the Klamath River tribes and fishing organizations which have long claimed leadership in defending and restoring Klamath Salmon have finally taken action to challenge federal policies which starve the Klamath of water flows and which, in recent years, killed most juvenile salmon before they could reach the Pacific Ocean. 

It has been something like the breaching of a dam: first the Hoopa Tribe, then the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, and finally the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermens' Associations (PCFFA) and Klamath Riverkeeper have declared their intention to legally challenge the 2013 Biological Opinion which allowed the US Bureau of Reclamation to starve the Klamath River of flushing spring flows so essential to the health of the River and Klamath Salmon.

While we question why it took them this long, KlamBlog hopes that tribes and fishing groups, which had grown bleary eyed and docile through sitting in the back rooms for too long with too many white lawyers, have finally regained clear vision and courage. But before we get too hopeful, let's look more closely at the crisis which prompted the notice that a legal challenge may be coming.