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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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.

I agree wholeheartedly, it makes me hate these greedy corporations ! The quote goes, when the last river poisoned and the last fish killed, man will see if he can eat money. So much meaning in this quote.

Isn't it the truth. At some point we citizens will have to take up arms to defend the earth. "Power concedes nothing without struggle. It never did and it never will."

Isn't it the truth. At some point we citizens will have to take up arms to defend the earth. "Power concedes nothing without struggle. It never did and it never will."

Isn't it the truth. At some point we citizens will have to take up arms to defend the earth. "Power concedes nothing without struggle. It never did and it never will."

This is direct and blatant theft from The People by big business. When big businesses are making record profits and not paying their fair share of taxes, The People lose out. Livlihoods are severely threatened by these with all the power and money to brush aside families that depend on the fishing and waters of the river in order to live and feed their children. The Native American Proverb - "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" is so true. But with what will we repay our children? Our Mother Earth is being poisoned on a daily basis. Our mountains are being destroyed, our wildlife is without habitats, and the very core of our earth is being drilled, fracked, and poisoned in order for big business to make their profits. All for non-sustainable reasons.
This does not better humanity! This does not add to the quality of life for anyone, other than the thieves and evil do-ers who are only out for themelves. But the law of Karma does and will prevail. And I am thakful every day that I am not one of the destroyers of Mother Earth, who also destroy the families and animals who have cared for her and depend on her in turn. Where once was a beautful cycle of life, now is a broken wheel; destroyed by these fools.

Leave the water in the trinity for the salmon

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