There are few victories sweeter and more dramatic than the one just wrested by Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman and his tribal allies in a Fresno, California courtroom this week. They prevented a corporate grab of water needed by an entire run of chinook salmon for their spawning run up the Klamath/Trinity rivers system.
Washington state’s Swinomish tribe faces a water rights battle in the Skagit River basin, the likes of which we have seen before. It’s reminiscent of the dispute that broke out around a decade ago in the Klamath River basin in California and Oregon. That dispute led to a fish kill of about 70,000 salmon after federal intervention severely reduced water flows in the Klamath and its tributaries.
Coho and chinook salmon, along with their steelhead cousins, are making some promising headway in California's North Coast streams. The San Francisco Chronicle carried a front-page story on Dec. 19 describing a higher-than-expected return of spawning coho in Lagunitas Creek. The same trend holds true for the Garcia and several other streams.