Groups Allege Threatened Coho Salmon at Risk Due to Federal Mismanagement

A few weeks ago, federally threatened coho salmon swam up the Klamath River, spawned and laid egg nests. But some of these nests, or redds, holding as many as 4,000 eggs, may never hatch, owing to reduced water levels in the river.

It’s the result of a severe water management bungling, say critics, by the Bureau of Reclamation, which controls how much water flows from Upper Klamath Lake into the river.

“My jaw is dropping right now at the way things are being managed,” said Michael Belchik, senior water policy analyst employed by the Yurok Tribe.

Tribal nations and commercial fishing groups argue the agency violated the Endangered Species Act when it reduced river flows in mid-March below a minimum level set in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration biological opinion, a series of recommendations and requirements meant to help the salmon recover and ensure river management decisions don’t push the species to the brink of extinction. The bureau blamed years of drought in the Klamath Basin.

Continue reading at kqed.org.

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