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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.

If farmers' needs always trump the environment, in this case the spawning of Salmon, we harm the very eco system that keeps the farmers in business. Don't put the cart before the horse.

If the choice is between nature and business, we must choose nature. Business' come and go, but nature, once gone, is lost forever.

Right point, Im support you. We, the human being, are the only rational controler of our planet, please safe OUR PLANET.

Thanks for informing us about this. Please let us know if there is someone we can call or write at just the right time to make some kind of difference in the decision. thanks!

Enough of mans selfish ways. Please. When are we going to start caring for the land and earth. What are we doing?!?

What happens to the orca whales, we just saved in this area who depend on the salmon for life as well. Why do humans have to interfere in the natural circle of life.

What happens to the orca whales, we just saved in this area who depend on the salmon for life as well. Why do humans have to interfere in the natural circle of life.

Just look at the state of the world today. With accidents like BP, Fukushima, dolphins washing up on shore, the massive bee colony die offs; we are killing this world! Enough is enough!

There is a well-known expression about "shitting in one's tent." We have already made life almost impossible for a very iconic species, salmon. Salmon runs are necessary for not only coastal fishing but their very presents brings tourists to the areas that they are most abundantly found. The decision that makes the most sense is to allow water releases to keep these great fish alive. A decision to do otherwise will be tantamount to "shitting in one's tent." One of these days, the wrong environmental decisions will come back to haunt us. All the money in the world may not be able to make things right again.

It's very important to have sustainable, wild-caught salmon. Doing away with waters that keep them sustainable pushes us into eating salmon that is farm raised - a very unhealthy, toxic way to eat fish that supply us with Omega-3 - or foreign-water fish, often from toxic waters. If big business continues to have its way, our country will soon find itself with nothing natural and healthy and on its downhill slide to self destruction.

No way! They're trying to steal an important fish from both humans as well as bears. These groups are aiding and abetting to joblessness. Stop it!

No way! They're trying to steal an important fish from both humans as well as bears. These groups are aiding and abetting to joblessness. Stop it!

What happened to people making logic-based decisions for the good of all rather than greed and overlooking facts?

Save the salmon, remove all the dams on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers. Don't let a small group that already gets tax subsidies destroy our environment.

Why do we consistently ignore history and go right ahead and do it again?? Why can we not learn from our mistakes and do things better going forward?

Save the salmon, remove all the dams on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers. Don't let a small group that already gets tax subsidies destroy our environment.

Salmon is food and very healthy food at that. Farmers will have to find their water elsewhere. Drought has always been an issue in California. Farmers must be more creative about finding their water sources and farmers should never hurt other businesses though their water needs.

Save the salmon

THIS is a TOTAL OUTRAGE and ALL those involved have NO CONSCIENCE !!

Every DAY more and more peoples from ALL around the World are standing up and saying NO MORE.....CORPORATE unconscionable action!

These SALMON represent so much to so many.......NO MORE....NO MORE plundering and waste of ALL OUR NATURAL RESOURCES and LIVING BEINGS!!!!!

How dumb is it to not protect the salmon and then people complain because there is not a supply of it. The stupidity of it all is quite astounding.

When it comes to protecting small businesses and the environment, our government must not turn its back. Doing the right thing matters. Serve your people and stop being politicians. My God, where have all the great people gone?

I think we should list the species homosapean sapiens due to incompetence.

Stop killing innocent animals!

I've had it with big business interests! I'm on the side of the sustainable lifeblood of Northern California coastal fishing communities. Let them have enough water in the river for salmon to survive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The consideration of the fish should be uppermost!

No respect for the once magnificent natural environment
what I and many others cherish ---destruction ----there is
no moral or ethical gradient ----these people are monsters
masquerading as human beings that wan t to destroy the salmon
our incredible heritage !

Please leave these fish alone. Nature takes care of itself just fine, without human interference!!

Their has to be a point where humans , stop and look at what is being done to the fish and animals in this world because of powerful business interests and their greed. We are seeing this all over the world . But it is being pushed on us as the need to produce more food . killing complete spices of salmon for a few more vegetables or as is always brought up; the loss of jobs.These are threats that put fear into the common working working person , especially the under payed farm worker. I am also a farmer . I live in Texas and a drought has devastated the land for the past 4 years , but most farmers and ranchers have developed alternative means for the problems. There will always be problems in the farm and ranch fields , but real farm and ranch people will overcome them . And they will not exploit people or wild life to do this.

MY husband and I live on The Trinity River in No. Ca. We see the salmon and steelhead spawn in our backyard. The legacy of salmon and steelhead must be protected. Do not allow greedy farmers to dictate where OUR water should go!

Protect the Salmon.

NO business on nature !

One of the most incredible events that happens in nature, and one that is necessary for many humans, animals, and more of nature to survive - is about to be destroyed??? Is there a petition???

There has to be a better way of farming found. These mega farms just about rape the earth with their pesticide and weed killer laden loads that are dumped every year on the valley.

Water is just one issue--there is the very high incidence of spina bifida and other human dibilitating deformaties. Wonder if anyone has done a survey on the number of children who are born with these awful maladies. Third is the salmon habitat. Course these business's are not locally owned so their offsprings are probably being cared for in some prinstine area of the world.

Mandate adequate water be released to protect the fish industry; require agribusiness to use drip irrigation methods to lessen the amount of water needed to provide an abundant harvest.
Thank you for your attention.

There has to be a better way of farming found. These mega farms just about rape the earth with their pesticide and weed killer laden loads that are dumped every year on the valley.

Water is just one issue--there is the very high incidence of spina bifida and other human dibilitating deformaties. Wonder if anyone has done a survey on the number of children who are born with these awful maladies. Third is the salmon habitat. Course these business's are not locally owned so their offsprings are probably being cared for in some prinstine area of the world.

The farmers need to learn better water management. The Fish have a lifespan and need the water to continue and to not become an extinct species.

Allow the water release for the fish!

God help us to protect the salmon and keep corporations from controlling our lands, hearts and animals. Thanks to earth justice for bringing this to my attention- it's out of control out there.

“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.”

Having had Klamath river salmon in previous years when offered as such I would hat for thus valuable and tasty resource to dwindle and die due to the greed of big agribusiness. KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE EATER THE FISH NEED TO SURVIVE!!!!!

Please save our fish thanks

Please save our fish thanks

Agribusiness determines which crops to plant based on water availability.
As long as we guarantee ample water, they will waste it. Supply less and they plant crops that need less and invest in drip irrigation. This is basic economics.

We merely ask for an investment in efficiency so that the Salmon "crop" is saved.

This is a good and smart answer to big business greed.

We cannot afford to have the waterways used by endangered salmon handed over for corporate use, misuse, and pollution.

Save the salmon!

The water and fish are more important. There in not a lot of clean water. It is the most precious thing on the planet.

Stop putting delicate ecosystems in jeopardy. We need original species to survive!

Salmon is a food source for the millions of Americans. So these people want to destroy one of our food sources??? In exchange for other food sources? This makes no sense at all.

If California has been in drought then they have to teach people to use less water. It's about time people in this country are taught to conserve. Rich people, who own multi jet showers, multiple bathrooms and pools, as well as middle class and poor people need to learn the value of water before it's too late. Otherwise all people will be paying ridiculous amounts of money for a bottle of water!!!

Plumbing fixtures need to have new codes, swimming pools need to be regulated and many other water regulations need to be put into effect.

Westlands is just about greed with no common sense at all!!!!!

GET SMART ABOUT WATER PEOPLE!!!

Release the water. Big business is killing everything. Even the people. Please use your power o protect the fish.

Release the water. Big business is killing everything. Even the people. Please use your power o protect the fish.

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