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Protection of Endangered Coho Salmon

Earthjustice is representing a coalition of tribes, conservationists and commercial fishing groups in protecting California’s endangered coho salmon population against agricultural practices that are dewatering the Shasta and Scott rivers, two of the Klamath's key salmon spawning tributaries. According to preliminary data from video fish counts on the Scott and Shasta rivers done by the California Department of Fish and Game in 2009, only 81 coho returned to the Scott River, while in the Shasta a mere nine coho returned, reportedly all of them male. Biologists also reported that two out of three classes of coho in the Shasta River are functionally extinct. These devastatingly low returns continue an alarming population decline in watersheds that once provided some of the best habitat anywhere in the Klamath Basin.

If successful, Earthjustice's litigation will curb agricultural water use and habitat degradation in the Scott and Shasta watersheds, which is critical for restoring Klamath River coho salmon. Shasta River was once the most productive salmon stream, for its size, in the state of California.

Press Releases

Monday, April 25, 2011
Strikes down water diversion permits for Shasta and Scott rivers
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Action comes as groups allege state agency violated key protections for threatened coho
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Agency proposal leaves threatened coho with dry riverbeds, impaired water quality