SACRAMENTO – Today, Delta and river advocates—including Klamath River Tribal Members, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, commercial & recreational fishing groups, and Restore the Delta—rallied at the State Capitol to voice their opposition against the Trump Administration’s proposal to maximize water deliveries to the Central Valley Project.
The new federal proposal to increase Delta exports could impact flows on the Sacramento, Feather, American-San Joaquin, Trinity, and Klamath Rivers, and comes at a time when salmon returns and Delta Smelt numbers have reached record lows.
Last year the Klamath River suffered the worst fall run salmon return in history, and the Sacramento River only had 230,700 projected fall run salmon returning down from 650,000 only years before. Low salmon runs led to a disaster declaration in California and Oregon due to the loss of the commercial fisheries.
Klamath Justice Coalition member and Yurok tribal member Annelia Hillman said,
“The Bureau of Reclamation needs to deeply consider the greater detrimental environmental effects that are already evident from manipulating natural water systems. On the Klamath River, we can testify to the damage that reservoirs and diversions have caused on tribal subsistence fishing, water quality and all life dependent on it.
“We are all aware that maximizing water flows to the Central Valley does not mean sending clean drinking water to residents—it means meeting corporate demands that waste water on fracking and unsustainable big-ag industries.”
Hillman went on to say that the Yurok Tribe is California’s largest Tribe and faced an allocation of one fish per eight Tribal members due to the Klamath River having the worst salmon run in history last year.
Executive Director of The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Noah Oppenheim said,
“California’s commercial salmon fishery was mortally wounded by the drought, catastrophic water mismanagement, and excessive south-of-Delta exports. Now the Bureau of Reclamation is here to twist the knife. What began last year as a non-jeopardy reinitiation of consultation has become a water grab fueled by greed and opportunism. If the Bureau gets its way, commercial and recreational salmon fishing will be lost forever in the Central Valley. Fishermen and anglers from the Golden Gate to Redding and all the way to Seattle need healthy salmon runs to survive.”
Representative of Save California Salmon, Regina Chichizola said,
“We are facing the worst salmon runs we have ever had on the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers due to bad water management during the drought, and the only thing that saved us from losing our drinking water supply last year was a rainy winter. California needs to start managing our water responsibly. The Trump plan is the opposite of responsible, and is especially troubling when the impacts of the Twin Tunnels and new dam proposals are factored in.”
Executive Director of Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan Parrilla said,
“The Delta smelt could be the first fish species to become extinct in the United Since since the Endangered Species Act was signed in 1973. With only two delta smelt identified in the last fish survey, state and federal agencies need to focus time, money, and energy on restoring smelt populations instead of turning up the pumps. If California loses Delta smelt, the salmon will follow, then larger aquatic species that rely on salmon runs like Puget Sound Orcas will die off as well. We are looking at the potential collapse of an entire food chain.”
For immediate release: 1/23/18
Noah Oppenheim, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, 415-561-5080, [email protected]
Annelia Hillman, Klamath Justice Coalition & Yurok Tribal Member, 707-499-6061, [email protected]
Regina Chichizola, Save California Salmon, 541 951-0126, [email protected]
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]