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Crisis In Court: Mega-farms Trying to Seize Salmon Water

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
16 August 2013, 12:05 PM
Court hearings this week may decide fate of Klamath/Trinity River salmon
Local fishing communities depend on healthy salmon runs. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

This is the time of year when Chinook salmon head back up the Klamath/Trinity River system to spawn—if they have abundant, cold water.

But this year—this week—powerful business interests are in court trying to seize that water, putting tens of thousands of salmon, and an entire generation of their offspring, in peril.

Here’s why:

Because California faces drought this year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) has developed a plan to release extra water from dams along the Trinity River (a tributary of the Klamath) to prevent another disaster like the ‘Fish Kill of 2002.’ Also a drought year, 2002 saw the Klamath running low, slow and with high temperatures. The Bush administration prevented water from being released, leading to a massive die-off of adult Chinook salmon, one of the worst fish kills in U.S. history. Coastal communities dependent on those salmon suffered $200 million losses.

Fast forward to this year: Corporate agricultural interests, led by the powerful Westlands Water District in California’s Central Valley, have sued to block water releases that will protect salmon. This despite the fact that more than half the water from the Trinity River is already diverted to industrial agriculture.

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, represented by Earthjustice, intervened last week in defense of BuRec’s plan to protect the salmon run. A 3-day hearing this week will determine the salmon’s fate.

“Healthy salmon runs are the sustainable lifeblood of Northern California coastal fishing communities,” explains Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “But without enough water in the river for salmon to survive, these resources will disappear.”

Stay tuned.

It is ridiculous and horrific that big agri-business is able to control this kind of things just because they want to increase their profit.
They neither have much knowledge about the ecosystems and their direct and indirect importance nor do they care about effect on human society.

Stop messing with Mother Nature! Let the earth take care of itself

I lived in Trinity County during the last "fish kill" in 2002. Locals who saw it claimed that the numbers of dead salmon far exceeded what the newspapers were saying. At least 50,000 fish died is the real story. After everyone was so disgusted by it all, the Westland farmers apologized and claimed that had they known it would be so devastating to the fish, they would not have asked that the water releases be stopped, and that they themselves liked to go fishing. Well, well, don't we now know what the real truth was then and is now.

I blame the government for signing off on and granting water rights and releases. Shame on ALL of them. GODS WRATH is coming soon.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - former U.S. President, prophet, and martyr John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.

The almighty dollar and who cares what or who gets killed off in the interim? You developers should all be ashamed of yourselves. When is enough enough? Leave our animals, fish and all nature alone!

There is an old Native comment I believe from Chief Red Tail or Red Hawk can't remember, saying, "The invaders have come creeping through our lands, settling and building forts. I want WAR!"
I blame the senseless members of the military at that time. Following deceiving and ambitious orders.

I agree,they will not be happy until the very last tree and all of the animals are gone.They worry about wars everywhere else when they need to be worrying about our childrens and grand childrens and great grand childrens environment....

Your comment is right on!

It was Red Cloud.

What really gets me is Westlands Water District is doing this because they are concerned with next year's water allotment. They don't seem to care that they will be killing this year's run of fish. So if it is a wet winter, then what? Oops sorry? All those dead fish, are on their hands.

We are leaving nothing left for the future! Our children's children are gonna suffer from our greed! How can you not care about the future of this planet! Or even our children's future! Stop all this please!

When are the people going to have their voices heard. We need to stand together to protect the Earth and all it's inhabitants. I hope more people join the fight to save our wild life and sign petitions. We need to let the powerful people know that the citizens will stand up for protecting
our land, air, water and the creatures that live here.

Amen sister. I'm with you. We need to make a human chain or wall.

Yes! The only way to let those officials know we will stand up for Nature is showing them explicitly by standing up and putting ourselves between the exploited and their exploiter. Making a declaration is useless without the will and ability to implement it regardless of the opposition. Ironically, we must reflect the domination mindset in our resistance to its merciless calculus.

This should be applied to ALL Grassroots and conservancy groups and people. Lets do it!
Fear is our worst enemy. Lets conquer it.

STOP the greed, protect the beauty of the natural and the lives that depend on it! Fish cannot speak but we can still speak for them!!!!!!

don't you dare kill off the salmon whats next,you people play god with everything ,you can hold off till they are over there trip up steam to lay there eggs. why?????????? would you be willing to kill off a who entire generation. you can bring water trucks in to deliver water ,and start thinking of building another canel . they were there first not the frams ,so start building another dig my friend. whats real sad you will die some day and have god to answer. he our creater,and you wont get by that with him, so are you that
dum or smart ,it will cost you down the road,iam passing this on to my friends in face book,pogo,police,were my son and brother workgirl scouts our town meeting etc.

Big business at its worse again !! Why do these people not have a conscience ?

Consumers are killing the salmon and their ecosystems. On one end, animal agriculture demands the water and on the other, commercial and "sports" fishers demand the rest. In the middle is our unsustainable human ecology—the place where our behaviors create the destructive relationships and where ending that destruction lives. We are neo-predators via the environmental impacts we create with our mega (overpopulation), presence (the space we occupy with our activities and noise that exclude other species), and economic (the impacts that are created every time we consume goods and services. We kill individuals from other species and their ecosystems without buying them to eat. A vegan new human ecology is your solution. While I support the good work of Earthjustice, like most of the environmental community, their mission appears to continue support for animal agriculture on land and at sea. This guarantees the decline and loss of species and ecosystems and along with it our own future. More at thisishopethe book dot com and greenvegans dot org.

Please remember, all of the problems are contained within one issue—our human ecology. It is also where the solutions lie.

VPrexy Cheney was responsible for the 2002 salmon slaughter in the Trinity, reducing water flow so there was not enough oxygenated water for the salmon to survive. Don't let it happen again. Please, Mr. President Obama, don't let it happen again. We considered you an environmental president. Your track record is miserable. Here'a a chance to do something right and preserve this historic salmon run for future generations.
Eric & Tamie Goranson

We humans are NOT at the top of the ecosystem. Nature is. We need to show the proper respect for all

the creatures of the universe -- mankind, so far, has been a disaster to the necessary balance.

Please insert "predations" in my comment at "and economic predations(the impacts that are created every time we consume goods and services."

Please insert "predations" in my comment at "and economic predations(the impacts that are created every time we consume goods and services."

This is another case of Agribusinesses bullying and exercising their GREED muscles to amass greater profit. Big Agribusinesses cares not for; the environment, the huge number of jobs that depend on salmon and other fisheries, of the consumers, or the small farmers. Salmon are in a food cycle, which if broken, will disrupt not only those salmon species but others as well. Agribusiness should change and start taking care of the environment instead of destroying it. Stop the insanity and bending to this insane greed for resources for products that are poor in nutrients and high in chemicals.

I have nothing to say. I am ashamed that we want to destroy everything.

Holy Smokes that is a whole lot of back and forth fueled by intelligence, education, concern, emotion, greed, and many others. The simple fact is we all need to change. We cannot kill off the salmon, but we also need the produce. Perhaps it is time for large Agri-business to put in cistern to collect rain water additionally, all wash water utilized by the businesses could be filtered (gray water recycling) and stored in cisterns as well. All that water may then be utilized to water crops during periods of drought.
For now, let the fish run. It is time big business did the right thing, as opposed to the easy thing, or the cheap thing. One initial investment would last a lifetime, and save money in the long run with no more court battles.

There is no reason why water cannot be recycled In addition what about water collection systems from rains etc? this is not difficult and is common sense ..probably why it's not done STOP decimating wildlife including fish!!!!!!!!!Corporate greed continues to destroy this country

We cannot mess with nature. Removing things from nature is stupid. The stupid corporations are always trying to destroy nature for their own selfish and greedy reasons. All they care about is them selves. They don't care if they destroy nature or make other people starve, they don't care at all. I hope that the judge doesn't let them destroy the world a little more.

We cannot mess with nature. Removing things from nature is stupid. The stupid corporations are always trying to destroy nature for their own selfish and greedy reasons. All they care about is them selves. They don't care if they destroy nature or make other people starve, they don't care at all. I hope that the judege doesn't let them destroy the world a little more.

We cannot mess with nature. Removing things from nature is stupid. The stupid corporations are always trying to destroy nature for their own selfish and greedy reasons. All they care about is them selves. They don't care if they destroy nature or make other people starve, they don't care at all. I hope that the judege doesn't let them destroy the world a little more.

Please do not do this, we need this for sustainability

Please do not do this, we need this for sustainability


Let us all stop working and go back to the ancient ways.
We are all slaves if you really come to think. Nothing more than feeding people that like to sit behind a desk and give orders.
Let real freedom ring.

Maybe we should stop voting. Give the power back to the people.
All politicians and people in power are worried about is money. They forget that they have to eat too. And now they want to play creator agreeing on making genetically manufactured food which is plastic.
no wonder people are getting sick and developing more illnesses.

Save these fish! Why does wildlife have to suffer from poor judgement and engineer mistakes? Nooooo to over fishing!!! No to extinction!!!

The obsession with "big" corporations is a little infantile. But assuming for the moment that the criticism of bigness is just, why wouldn't it apply with equal force to government?

In fact, GOP and corporate interests do pay attention to government: they effort to defund social security (an unprotected fund they raid all the time), they want to stop responding to disaster areas and let states take the debt for what happens in their states, they wish to cut as many social programs as possible designed to help education,and for the poor and disenfranchised families and only fund programs that restrict women from being responsible for their own bodies and do away with separation of government and install their vision of religion guiding all government action. Separation of cultures, a return to discrimination of any person non-white is ultimately the aim. The fact that our system of congress is comprised of generally wealthy people, they will pass laws and rescind anything that will not benefit themselves. Under a Democratic President, they have managed to block all appointments and prevent all beneficial bills for the middleclass from coming to a vote on the floor. Yes, the far right do not get anything passed but they do influence changes to any bill that meets their liking. Members of both parties are lobbyied to serve those corporate interests who support their continued existence among the privliged and lie to their constiuents about issues which apathetic voters swallow like a drink.

It is amazing to me that middleclass people still vote to support corporate interests and their candidates to their detriment citing always having voted a particular way and in doing so allow government to hurt them with our tax contributions and never consider changing that vote.

I believe that government is a huge part of the model, and intentionally or not, the might of big or world business. And i don't mean just our government; our elected officials allow or contract companies with vested interests to be unbiased in their reports and proposed laws and guidances; ours is a white collar crime. Governments of some countries are much more aggressive with their allocation of national resources, and rarely is it for their middle and lower income citizens, it's the greed of power fueled by business wanting to make the maximum profit possible; to sustain it's life.
Lots of things wrong with the present model in our country, much attributable to post Civil War, the lack of government oversight and the ability for big business (oil, electricity, banking, steel, etc) to have a huge influence in who we would become. And in that time period it was big business that bailed out the government when the country didn't have the money to move forward. Ours is a model that needs serious transformation, but this model has serious controls and won't allow itself to be restructured without an outside force stronger than itself; we the people.

"why wouldn't it apply with equal force to government?"

DUH because government is elected BY US and responds to the PUBLIC needs at least theoretically. Corporations only respond to the interests of the majority shareholders!

The challenge here is that we aren't talking theory, we are dealing with the reality of what is happening to us, in this case a whole generation of a specific species that could perish in this particular river system. Their presence has a domino affect in their world (our world), and we only have a clue as to the impact. I believe most of us do know that we don't want to live on GMOs and animals fed the same as well as steroids, mega doses of antibiotics and food that wouldn't be part of their natural diet.
The reality is that even though the government officials are elected by us, MOST of the laws are initiated and pushed through by the special interest lobbiest, and we don't see them or get a change to vote on them.
So, we the people don't always have the opportunity to address the issues we are engaged in today if it wasn't for organizations like Earthjustice and others that bring to light what our elected officials fail to bring to us for whatever reasons.

We the people,
It consistently hurts to see these kinds of actions, obviously not sustainable, repeated time after time, and more dramatic with every instance.
Our challenge as I see it is that these large businesses are fighting for what we the people tell them we want. In this case it is the people and businesses of California's Central Valley. Many times the atrocities come from big businesses, but they always represent we the people. Big business has few if any morals, they feed on making money. The "best of the best" business people take the actions that create the biggest profit, and not focused on our future genterations, that doesn't fit into the business model. We know there are no ethics in this arena, they fight for the greatest solvency possible, placed in power by a board who works for the stockholders, we the people.

Until we the people become enlightened as a community, not just a few of us following and fighting these atrocities, we need organizations like this to be proactively aware of what is going on and eliciting the few to petition and use the strength of our voice. In the meantime we the people need to determine what we are willing to sacrifice to establish a set of ethics in business that the world can live by. Something in our foundation needs to change or we will consistently be running around trying to put out "fires", And when we miss those that will have a catastrophic long range effect on our children, like the GMO approvals slid through Congress by Monsanto a few months ago, our world will be modified and the worse for it.

I honestly think that a mass daily prayer, pouring out protective light and emotional caring vibes to all things natural, encircling glorious nature with a powerful shield against these awful big for-profit businesses may help.
I can't believe they don't think of their own children and grandchildren, and their own food - it is so outrageous that they have infiltrated the government and all its agencies. The mass of caring people can do it!!
I was a cheerleader in high school in the 50's. GO TEAM! WE, THE PEOPLE, WILL NOT BE FOOLED!

All that praying and stuff is great, but voting correctly would help more.

You can pray, you can vote, but unless we 1) recognize that our population is beyond a healthy sustainable level and 2) act to REDUCE our species population we will only be trying to patch holes in a continuously degrading environment. War, viruses, condoms & a massive cultural paradigm shift in our thinking might keep us from living on a warming planet with mega desertification. Growing CO2 levels (currently near 400ppm) nearly doubled from the industrial revolution are like a runaway train. I see no way we can "go back" without population reduction.

Today's news reports the warming of lakes in the West. Fish and other aquatics will have no chance if man does not reverse his continued damage to the environment of the non-human species on the planet.

I probably won't live long enough to witness the total devastation we are heading for and I'm glad I don't have kids.

News flash:

Monsanto cannot improve upon nature. **It's the 21rst Century "big lie". Everything they are doing is for profit, CEO's, shareholders period. I am not against making a living or doing well. I am nor for "making a killing", especially when it ends up killing us, our wildlife, our bees, our animals and ruins our potable water and poisons our land. If you take the long view, everything Monsanto makes has to do with toxins and poisons and reinventing ways to apply them in our lives. In the long view, nature has a way of morphing around what they have created with unintended consequences and it doesn't especially work out well for us. But by then, they have made their money, bought their politicians and are working on the next thing while we are left to deal with what is left. I'm okay with afew bug bites in my vegetables. I'm even better with natural corn and grasses than are not infused with their chemicals that only begat more resistant pests, weeds, etc. I'm the best with our livestock, bees and our water being left untainted and full of carcinogens and neurotoxins.
Monsanto is a pervasive industry with no daylight between our political entities, lobbyists and their efforts to pass laws and steamroll our FDA and EPA while crushing our farmers if they don't comply. We do not need Monsanto to fix our food that is not broken!

**Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was the master of the “big lie” tactic in which a lie, no matter how outrageous, is repeated often enough that it will eventually be accepted as truth. Goebbels explained:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Tell those guys to stop worrying...I heard Monsanto is working on a GMO Chinook that will start running with the Humpback Whales and do all their breeding down in Baja...When will it end!!! big ag,, taking the water feeding us GMO modified foods drenched in pesticides, killing the pollinators with the same pesticides so the only thing they will have left is GMO seed all to maintain the BOTTOM LINE... and don't think these guys won't come up with a GMO salmon that can survive in thrive in warmer water...I'll want to eat some of that...Enough is enough already!!!

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