Collaboration is killing Klamath salmon

  Your "follow-up" article about juvenile salmon dying in the Klamath River (HCN, 7/19/04: Follow-up) contained an error. You stated: "But the Bureau of Reclamation has no more water to send downstream ..." BuRec does have the ability to send more water downstream. They could do this by cutting irrigation deliveries by as little as 10 percent. However, the BuRec has been ordered by the Bush administration to provide full water deliveries to irrigators no matter what the consequence for downstream salmon.

BuRec does pay some of these irrigators not to use water — buying back water which, in truth, the irrigators have no priority right to use. But demand still exceeds supply, in part because the $50 million in the Farm Bill for Klamath Basin "agricultural water conservation" has delivered expensive new irrigation systems to irrigators but produced only "paper water."

Meanwhile, the California Governator’s Fish and Game Department pretends that nothing can be done and that "collaboration is the key." What the Fish and Game Department is now about is collaboration in the destruction of Klamath River salmon.

Felice Pace
Klamath, California