The Hoopa Valley Tribe is suing federal agencies for allegedly failing to reduce the numbers of endangered Coho salmon killed by fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, the tribe announced Wednesday. “Hoopa is making every effort to recover Coho salmon with this lawsuit,” said Vivienna Orcutt, a Hoopa tribal council member.
Crow Indian leaders blamed U.S. officials for “gross mismanagement” of tribal money after investigators said the Montana tribe couldn’t account for almost $13 million intended for water system improvements.
A dam on the Tohono O’odham Nation is expected to overflow and could fail due to heavy rain and flooding from remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa, authorities said Tuesday night. The status of the dam remained unchanged on Wednesday morning, weather officials said.
The event, called Run4Salmon, is part of the [Winnemem Wintu] tribe’s plans to change the course of history for endangered Chinook, once plentiful in this part of the world. … [Winnemem Chief Caleen] Sisk says heightening Shasta Dam would further harm salmon and flood ancestral land. She advocates for the construction of new swim-ways to bypass the dam to allow salmon to spawn above it.
The giant Douglas fir hit the water with a great splash just as a powerful gust of wind from the Chinook helicopter rotors blew across the river…. The charred trunk, weighing as much as 25,000 pounds, was one of 300 fire-damaged trees that the [Yurok Indian] tribe and its partners strategically placed in the South Fork of the Trinity River this past week in an attempt to alter the current, scour out accumulated sediment and restore long-lost salmon habitat in the river.
The Klamath Tribes believe the federal government has taken a “giant step backwards” in the road to a comprehensive, long-term agreement aiming to solve water conflicts in the Basin. That’s because the U.S. government rolled back a federal program in its fifth year of providing $500,000 for a study aimed at testing water quality in Upper Klamath Lake.
The defunct Copper Bluff Mine in the Hoopa Valley area could be added to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday. “Though the Copper Bluff Mine closed decades ago, it is still affecting the Trinity River, the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the tribal fishery,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker in a statement.
For thousands of years, the Klamath River has been a source of nourishment for the Northern California tribes that live on its banks. Its fish fed dozens of Indian villages along its winding path, and its waters cleansed their spirits, as promised in their creation stories.
Klamath River salmon, freshly caught and cooked the traditional way over an open fire, is back on the menu at the Yurok Tribe’s 56th annual Klamath Salmon Festival, which is happening Saturday. … In 2016 and 2017, the tribe could not in good conscious serve Klamath salmon at the festival because the fish runs were so low, according to a Yurok Tribe press release.
One of the unintended consequences of the devastation of Carr Fire in Shasta County is that is has been providing more water to Klamath and Trinity river fish in a time when river conditions have been looking tenuous. Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Fisheries Director Mike Orcutt said the dam-controlling U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has nearly doubled flows on the Trinity River since late July.
Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Yet those challenges will be quite familiar to Haas, an attorney who for the past year has served as deputy director and general counsel of the commission. (She replaced longtime Executive Director Don Ostler). She has a long history of working within interstate Colorado River governance, including representing New Mexico as its Upper Colorado River commissioner and playing a central role in the negotiation of the recently signed U.S.-Mexico agreement known as Minute 323.
The Karuk Tribe and UC Berkeley are launching a $1.2 million study to determine how to best protect native foods and resources in the face of a changing climate and a history of environmental degradation in the mid-Klamath River Basin.
Judge William H. Orrick has denied the motion for preliminary injunction to protect endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker, and granted a motion to transfer the case to an Oregon court, according to the opinion Orrick released Wednesday. … The case involves the Klamath Tribes lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service.
A 90-year-old defunct copper mine along the Trinity River that has been draining acidic runoff and heavy metals into the Trinity River is now being eyed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a candidate to become a Superfund cleanup site.
“Devastating” was how Karuk Tribe Executive Director Josh Saxon described the news that only 106 adult spring-run Chinook salmon were found on the Salmon River this year — believed to be the second lowest count on record. The results of the annual Salmon River fish count on Wednesday as well as poor river conditions on the Klamath River tributary has prompted concerns about the potential for a fish kill and the future viability of what some say is already an endangered species.
The Yurok Tribe is claiming a “major victory” this year in its cannabis eradication campaign, known as Operation Yurok, not because it cut down tens of thousands of plants, but because it didn’t have to cut down any.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is taking additional steps toward reducing its carbon footprint, installing machines that convert roughly 624 tons of solid food waste into water, rather than send it to local landfills, at the casino resort spa in Rancho Mirage.
No one is popping the champagne corks just yet, but the process to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River just took a big step forward. On June 28, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation released the Definite Plan for the Lower Klamath Project, a 2,300-page detailed analysis of how the reservoirs would be drawn down, the dams removed, the materials disposed of and the formerly inundated land restored.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe notified federal agencies Wednesday of its intent to file a lawsuit claiming the agencies failed to follow their own protocols that are meant to protect Endangered Species Act-listed coho salmon when they approved this year’s salmon fishing regulations.
A federal lawsuit that could determine access to water in the Klamath Basin this summer has taken a new turn as parties argue whether the Klamath Tribes should post a $50 million bond to protect irrigators. According to parties intervening in the suit, at least $50 million is needed to cover financial losses for agricultural producers who would lose access to water if the court rules in the Tribes’ favor.
The state of Maine is locked in a legal battle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a pair of American Indian tribes about the way clean water standards apply in and around tribal lands. Maine is arguing in the lawsuit that the EPA is unfairly imposing heightened water quality standards in the tribal areas.
More than two years after the 2015-16 Dungeness and rock crab seasons in California was marred by toxic algae blooms, the federal government this week has allocated $25.8M in disaster funds to relieve fishermen and businesses affected by the closure. The Yurok Tribe was also allocated nearly $4M in disaster relief for its 2016 commercial salmon season, which was closed due to low numbers of returning spawners.
An executive order signed by President Trump late Tuesday eliminates an uncelebrated but far-reaching review process put in place eight years ago among state, tribal and federal agencies to better coordinate ocean policy in the wake of the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Leaders of the Blackfeet Nation and U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday put into effect a $471 million settlement of water rights claims that was decades in the making for the northwestern Montana American Indian tribe.
On a warm September Saturday in 2002, Amy Cordalis stood in a Yurok Tribal Fisheries Department boat on the Klamath River, in response to reports from fishermen that something was amiss on the river. On this stretch of the Yurok Reservation, the river was wide and deep, having wound its way from its headwaters at the Upper Klamath Lake, through arid south-central Oregon to the California coast.
Washington state must restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a lower court order. The justices divided 4-4 in the long-running dispute that pits the state against Northwest Indian tribes and the federal government. The tie serves to affirm a lower court ruling.
The [Klamath] water users association on Wednesday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of San Francisco, asking that the Klamath Tribes’ case be dismissed in San Francisco’s court, and that the case be heard in federal court located closer to Upper Klamath Lake, where the case originates.
More than 300 people who say their livelihoods depend on a coal-fired plant on a sprawling Native American reservation rallied in Phoenix Wednesday to request a 90-day delay in steps being taken to shutter it by 2019. … The board of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District is to consider alternative power sources to the generating station during a Thursday meeting.
Despairing over the impending loss of hundreds of jobs and 85 percent of its governmental revenue, the Hopi Tribe recently sued the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) for not honoring its contract to purchase power from the Navajo Generating Station until it pays back the federal loan used to build the station and construct the 336 mile-long Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal.
The Klamath Tribes of Oregon are alleging in a lawsuit filed last week that federal agencies are failing to protect endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake. The lawsuit has many similarities to a lawsuit filed by local tribes and environmental groups in 2016 alleging the same but for threatened Klamath River Coho salmon, which ended with a judge ruling in their favor.
Talks are scheduled to begin this week in Washington, D.C., to modernize the document that coordinates flood control and hydropower generation in the United States and Canada along the 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) Columbia River.
Tens of thousands of people on the Navajo Nation lack running water in their homes. But that could change in the coming years, as the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project goes into effect. It’s expected to deliver water to the reservation and nearby areas by 2024, as part of a Navajo Nation water rights settlement with New Mexico, confirmed by Congress in 2009.
Humboldt County tribes, fishermen, city officials and environmentalists on Tuesday called for the Board of Supervisors to support full removal of PG&E’s Potter Valley Project dams Tuesday after the utility company announced last week that it planned to auction off the project.
The Department of the Interior last week distributed a one-page framework for a long-term agreement aimed at resolving water issues in the Klamath Basin. Alan Mikkelsen, senior adviser to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on water and western resources, spent Monday and Tuesday meeting with Basin stakeholders about the one-page document, including water users and Klamath Tribes on Tuesday.
Local tribes and environmental groups declared victory Tuesday after a federal judge shot down a bid by Klamath Basin farmers and water districts to block dam releases meant to prevent fish disease outbreaks. Basin irrigators argued the rain and snow fall in 2017 reduced the chance of fish disease outbreaks this year, but said drought conditions in the basin this year could cause significant economic impacts to their region if water deliveries are delayed by the dam releases.
The Mojave Indians call themselves Pipa Aha Macav — “The People by the River.” The Colorado River is the economic and spiritual heartland for the Mojave and three other tribes that inhabit the Colorado River Indian Reservation, about four hours west of Tucson.
On April 18, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Washington v. United States, which pits the state of Washington against the United States and 21 Indian tribes. The main question in the case is narrow – whether the state must quickly replace hundreds of culverts that allow the flow of water under roads but also block salmon migration. Yet the underlying issue is far broader.
Federal documents and emails provided to the Times-Standard contradict and call into question the Trump administration’s reasoning for disbanding a citizen’s watchdog group tasked with overseeing a multi-million dollar, publicly funded Trinity River restoration project.
When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was a state senator from this idyllic mountain town, he drove a Prius, sported a beard and pushed President Barack Obama to make clean energy a priority. Today, the beard and Prius are gone, and Mr. Zinke has emerged as a leading figure, along with Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the environmental rollbacks that have endeared President Trump to the fossil fuel industry and outraged conservationists.
We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.
Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Three Southern California tribes will be able to review permits for surrounding projects that could impact wild rivers and air quality within their reservations as a result of new authority given them by the federal government.
Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building’s 20th century heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California — a project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped.
On April 18, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Washington v. United States, which pits the state of Washington against the United States and 21 Indian tribes. The main question in the case is narrow – whether the state must quickly replace hundreds of culverts that allow the flow of water under roads but also block salmon migration. Yet the underlying issue is far broader.
A federal judge heard arguments from attorneys representing Klamath Basin tribes, irrigators and government agencies on Wednesday in a case that is challenging the need for dam water releases meant to protect threatened fish species on the Klamath River from deadly parasitic outbreaks like those that occurred in 2014 and 2015.
The 2 p.m. court hearing on Wednesday at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco will be overseen by William Orrick. Orrick’s ruling will potentially decide factors leading to a start date — or not — for [Klamath] Basin irrigators, in a lawsuit between Bureau of Reclamation vs. Yurok and Hoopa Tribes.
A decades-old dispute over fishing rights in the lower Klamath River between the Yurok Tribe and its smaller neighbor, the Resighini Rancheria, is now going before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The Klamath River salmon season is set to reopen this year, according to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, giving fishermen and local tribes an opportunity make up the losses sustained by last year’s full closure of the fishery. The council — which makes recommendations to federal agencies on fishing rules — is set to finalize its decisions during its April 5-11 meetings in Portland, Oregon.
In an attempt to meet the needs of Klamath Basin irrigators and endangered fish species in the basin in a time of drought, a federal agency is proposing to reduce the amount of dam water releases to the Klamath River that are meant to protect threatened Coho salmon from deadly parasite outbreaks like those that occurred in 2014 and 2015.
Don Hankins is a professor of geography and planning at Chico State and a Miwkoʔ (Plains Miwok) traditional cultural practitioner. He has spent his academic career working on water and fire issues in California, with a focus on applied traditional Indigenous stewardship.
It isn’t easy being a Klamath Basin sucker. There has been a 75 percent decline in populations of two endangered Klamath Basin sucker species over the past two decades, and juvenile fish are not surviving beyond their first year of life, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
The U.S. Environmental Protection agency wants a mining company to pay for a potentially costly investigation of underground water flows at a southwestern Colorado Superfund site to help the agency devise a cleanup plan. … The spill tainted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and on Native American lands.
Local tribes’ say critically important dam water releases meant to protect threatened salmon on the Klamath River from deadly parasitic disease outbreaks are being contested by irrigators and water districts in the Klamath Basin as they face drought conditions.
A group of Klamath Basin water users Wednesday filed a motion in federal court in San Francisco pushing for at least a delay in the court-ordered injunction to keep 50,000 acre feet held in reserve in Upper Klamath Lake. The water is to be used to flush out the Klamath River in the spring to mitigate the impact of disease on coho salmon.
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which co-manage the [Sand to Snow National] monument’s 101,000 acres as wilderness, said they plan in March to dispatch a team of federal land managers, biologists and representatives of the nearby Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation to come up with a strategy and funds to eliminate the unbranded cattle and collarless dogs.
After reviewing the Karuk Tribe’s November petition to recognize the spring-run salmon as a separate species from its fall-run counterparts and to list them as an endangered species, the National Marine Fisheries Service this week found the tribe’s request “may be warranted.” The federal agency will now begin a 12-month review before making a final decision on the tribe’s requests.
As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt jetted around the country last year, regularly flying first or business class at hefty taxpayer expense, his stated mission was often a noble one: to hear from Americans about how Washington could most effectively and fairly enforce the Clean Water Act.
Water districts in northern New Mexico sought to disqualify a state judge Tuesday and overturn a major settlement with the Navajo Nation in a simmering dispute about rights to water from the San Juan River.
Federal fisheries officials said Tuesday they will consider putting the Pacific Northwest’s once-flourishing wild spring-run Chinook salmon on the list of threatened or endangered species. The National Marine Fisheries Services plans a 12-month review on whether to give protected status to the salmon in and around the Klamath River.
he earrings are only a couple of inches long, but the masterfully carved salmon look like they’ve leaped from the water to whisper in the wearer’s ear. Their glowing red hues and iridescent opalescence caress the eye. These colors occur naturally in the medium in which Leah Mata, a Northern Chumash artist, works: the shells of the red abalone, or Haliotis rufescens.
When the Blackfeet Nation of Montana last year approved a water rights compact with the federal government that had taken more than three decades to negotiate, it was only the beginning. The deal quantifies the tribe’s water rights for the first time and provides for more than $470 million in state and federal funding for water projects and related initiatives, but securing that money will involve further negotiations that are likely to be slow going.
The Klamath Tribes, in anticipation of drought conditions this summer, have filed a 60-day notice of their intention to file a lawsuit against federal agencies, seeking higher water levels on Upper Klamath Lake for protection of two endangered sucker species.
Anticipating a poor water year in California’s and Oregon’s Klamath River Basin, the federal government is seeking to find a way to balance its obligations to protect fish species while also ensuring Klamath Basin irrigators and water districts have access to water.
The agency that runs the CAP [Central Arizona Project] is setting aside Colorado River water for new development that by all rights should go to the Tohono O’odham and other Indian tribes, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says.
Santa Fe County commissioners on Tuesday night unanimously approved settlements with four Northern New Mexico pueblos that establish rights of way for certain roadways through the year 2216, finalizing months of negotiations over long-standing access disputes that have bedeviled Pojoaque Basin property owners and threatened to leave funding for a planned regional water system in limbo.
The federal government and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians will swap control of thousands of acres of mountainous land near Palm Springs in a deal officials said will improve land management for both sides.
Nothing sharpens the political divide in California like a fight over water. Just before New Year’s, the U.S. Bureau of Administration announced it would try to “maximize water deliveries” to the agricultural districts that belong to the federal government’s Central Valley Project.
Garry Holiday grew up among the abandoned mines that dot the Navajo Nation’s red landscape, remnants of a time when uranium helped cement America’s status as a nuclear superpower and fueled its nuclear energy program. It left a toxic legacy. … Mining tainted the local groundwater.
Rising temperatures from climate change are having a noticeable effect on how much water is flowing down the Colorado River. Read the latest River Report to learn more about what’s happening, and how water managers are responding.
A Native American tribe in Northern California was appalled last month when Shasta County demanded an extra $1,000 in penalties for their water bill. Thirty members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, ranging in age from 1 to 70 years old, live in a cluster of trailers on 42 acres of land that is zoned for a single household.
A landmark agreement on the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use project between the Fallbrook Public Utility District and Camp Pendleton Marine Base promises to be signed Dec. 11, after 66 years of litigation in the U.S. courts and could be good news for the 10-year-old water rights settlement case that is hindering development along state Route 371 in the Valley.
This issue of Western Water discusses the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin resulting from persistent drought, climate change and an overallocated river, and how water managers and others are trying to face the future.
On Monday, November 27, the United States Supreme Court let stand a California federal appellate court decision that could chart a new course for Native American tribal groundwater rights. In the case, Agua Caliente Band v. Coachella Valley Water District, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled on March 7 that the tribe’s water rights include an aquifer that lies beneath the Palm Springs-based tribe’s 31,500-acre reservation.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal by water agencies in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ landmark lawsuit asserting rights to groundwater beneath the tribe’s reservation.
Despite a growing awareness, Northern California tribal members struggle for the right to gather foods like acorns, mussels and surf fish that have sustained their tribes for thousands of years. … Samuel Gensaw III, 23, a Yurok from Requa (Del Norte County) on the Klamath River, has been part of the fight to remove four of the seven dams from the Klamath since he was 14.
Tribal lawmakers reticent of developing sacred land at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World said no Tuesday to a multimillion-dollar project to build an aerial tram to take paying visitors to a riverside boardwalk in the Grand Canyon. … They have said the area is sacred and the proposed development would mar the landscape where the Colorado River meets the blue-green waters of the Little Colorado River.
When a top Interior Department official acknowledged recently that the Trump administration wouldn’t try to block removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, he signaled a monumental victory for local Native American tribes, salmon fishermen and the national dam removal movement.
Before rushing to join the Klamath River, the waters of Blue Creek pause in a turquoise pool beside a bed of stone-gray cobbles. Salmon pause here, too – coho and fall Chinook, basking in the cool-water refuge to rally for the upstream swim to spawning grounds. … Today the entire 47,000-acre watershed near Redwood National Park is poised for protection under an ambitious partnership between the tribe and Western Rivers Conservancy.
The Trump administration is neglecting the U.S. government’s obligation to build new homes for Indians whose original abodes were submerged by dams along the Columbia River, members of Congressional delegations from Oregon and Washington state said.
State regulators and fishing officials said at a Eureka hearing on Friday that only by working together can they overcome the trials and uncertainty that several California’s fisheries face today. … The federal government declared a fishery disaster in January for the 2015-2016 California Dungeness crab season and the Yurok Tribe’s 2016 salmon season because of season delays and poor catch.
Earlier this month, as wildfires were ripping through California’s wine country, government and tribal agencies collaborated with non-profits to deliberately set prescribed fires further north in the western Klamath Mountains. The Klamath Training Exchange – or TREX – strategically put fire on the ground to protect towns from wildfire, to restore native cultural traditions and to train crews in how to use “good fire” to fend off “bad fire.”
In what one economic development expert calls a “unique case” of a tribe’s water rights claims being backed by all players, Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake on September 7 filed a new bill to ratify the Hualapai Tribe’s water settlement, an agreement negotiated between the tribe, Arizona, the federal government and others. … The bill, if enacted, will provide the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water.
The clear waters of the Colorado River flow gently through the Headgate Rock diversion dam while boaters and Jet Skiers play upstream in front of the Blue Water Resort and Casino. The dam quietly siphons off almost one fourth of Arizona’s share of Colorado River water and sends it to nearby fields of alfalfa and cotton on the reservation of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.
This fall, the number of chinook salmon making their way from the ocean up the Klamath River in the far northwest corner of California is the lowest on record. That’s devastating news for the Yurok tribe, which has lived along and fished the Klamath for centuries.
Scientists at U.C. Davis have found a genetic distinction between Chinook salmon that migrate in spring and fall. That has a Northern California tribe calling to make spring Chinook an endangered species. But some farmers are skeptical.
Documents filed with state regulators show that a fish farm that broke apart Aug. 19 in the San Juan Islands released more than 160,000 farm-raised Atlantic salmon into Washington state waters — far more than the original estimate — and that the holding pen for the fish was “due for complete replacement.” … The accident prompted state and Native tribal officials to declare a fish emergency.
Conservation and tribal groups are airing TV ads, sending letters to President Donald Trump and creating parody websites in a last-minute blitz to stop Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from downsizing or eliminating national monument areas that cover large swaths of land and water from Maine to California.
The Trump administration this week is expected to release plans for potentially shrinking or revoking the status of 21 national monuments, setting the stage for a years-long legal battle that could pit the White House against Indian tribes, environmentalists and some western states.
Ancient bones and abundant artifacts lie along Pacheco Creek, just north of Highway 152 at Pacheco Pass, where generations of Native Americans lived, died and now rest in peace. But the site is also where Silicon Valley’s largest water provider plans to expand a reservoir, storing more water for our region’s ever-growing thirst.
A dismal salmon run in the Klamath River has forced the Yurok Tribe — which normally catches its salmon from the Klamath River — to purchase the fish from an outside source for its annual Salmon Festival on Saturday.
Days after the Environmental Protection Agency pledged to reconsider damage claims it previously rejected after a mine spill, the agency said Monday it could not review multimillion-dollar requests from the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation because both have sued the agency.
The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear an appeal from water agencies and rule in the precedent-setting legal fight over whether the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians holds rights to groundwater in the California desert.
Congressional appropriation committees are considering whether to provide millions of dollars in disaster relief funds to West Coast fishing fleets as part of the 2018 federal budget. … The disaster declaration made in January by then-U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker includes California’s Dungeness and rock crab fishery as well as the Yurok Tribe’s Klamath River Chinook salmon fishery.
Another troubling sign of the poor state of this year’s Pacific Ocean salmon runs was discovered on one the Klamath River’s tributaries after an annual fish survey counted the second lowest number of spring-run Chinook salmon on record.
With New Zealand’s Southern Alps looming above, about 30 members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe from Northern California sat on the windswept bank of the Rakaia River cradling in their hands dark and wormy salmon fry, a long-lost relative finally found. As they released the salmon into a gurgling rivulet, a couple of Winnemem broke down in tears while others began softly singing a prayer song, barely louder than the breeze.
The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on whether Indian tribes hold special rights to the groundwater beneath their reservations, and the court will now have a chance to settle the question in a case that could redraw the lines in water disputes across the country.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ 4-year-old legal fight to assert rights to groundwater took a step forward on Wednesday as a federal judge agreed to let the lawsuit proceed while water agencies appeal an earlier ruling to the Supreme Court.
Deep in California’s coastal woods near the Oregon border, the [Yurok] reservation straddles the mighty Klamath River, the tribe’s lifeblood for centuries. … Drought sparked a water war in 2001, between the Indians along the river and farmers in Oregon who relied on upper Klamath water for irrigation.
Native American communities are bracing for a public health crisis this year in California’s misty, rugged northwestern corner. In the Pacific Ocean off the mouth of the Klamath River, record-low numbers of fall-run adult Chinook salmon are ready to make their annual migration up the river and its primary tributary, the Trinity River, to spawn.
For the first time in its history, the Karuk Tribe will be limiting ceremonial salmon harvests for tribal members because of the record low forecast for returning Chinook salmon on the Klamath River. … The tribe’s announcement came as the Pacific Fishery Management Council met in Sacramento to discuss catch limitations for this year’s salmon season.
California tribes and fishermen stated Thursday they will be calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a fisheries disaster because of the dismal forecast for this year’s salmon season. … These statements came exactly a year after top state, federal and tribal officials gathered at the mouth of the Klamath River to sign a renewed agreement to remove four dams from the river.
The Coachella Valley’s largest water agencies will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the question of whether the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has a federally established right to groundwater beneath the tribe’s reservation. … The case is likely to set an important precedent for tribes across the country.
A federal appeals court has rejected the Desert Water Agency’s challenge to a Department of the Interior regulation, denying the agency’s argument that the rule could prevent it from collecting millions of dollars in revenue from customers in the Palm Springs area.
A federal appeals court sided with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on Tuesday in a landmark water case, upholding a ruling that the tribe has federally established rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation ramped up flows on the lower Klamath River on Friday morning in an attempt to reduce the risk of threatened fish from contracting a deadly parasite as had occurred in years past. The move came just over a day after a federal judge found that the bureau’s past dam operations had caused harm to threatened juvenile Coho salmon in 2014 and 2015.
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker declared a fisheries disaster for nine salmon and crab fisheries in Alaska, Washington and California in January. Of the nine fisheries, the two in California include the Dungeness and rock crab fishery and the Yurok Tribe Klamath River Chinook salmon fishery.
River restoration on the Trinity River, the largest tributary for the Klamath River, was not walk through the park. Instead it was restoring what used to be labeled a dumping zone and transforming it into salmon habitat by creating a separate channel for the river.
The Agua Caliente tribe in Palm Springs argues it has a right to groundwater. Stanford law professor Barton H. “Buzz” Thompson explains how a federal court could soon resolve century-old uncertainties around the issue.
Lawyers for the Coachella Valley’s largest water districts and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians presented their arguments to a federal appeals court in a water rights case that could set a precedent for tribes across the country.
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe of Shasta County has been tracing the journey that follows the spawning route of the winter-run chinook salmon to raise public awareness of the fish’s plight, said Caleen Sisk, the Winemmem’s chief and spiritual leader.
The Bureau of Reclamation released water from the Trinity Reservoir early Thursday morning to the lower Klamath River to help prevent the spread a parasitic fish disease, within Chinook salmon. Supplemental flows from the Lewiston Dam will also extend into late September to protect the fall salmon run.
The American River, with headwaters in the Tahoe and El Dorado National forests of the Sierra Nevada, is the birthplace of the California Gold Rush. It currently serves as a major water supply, recreational destination and habitat for hundreds of species. The geologically diverse North, Middle and South forks comprise the American River or the Río de los Americanos, as it was called during California’s Mexican rule.
From a Hoopa Valley Tribe press release: Today, the Hoopa Valley Tribe (HVT) filed its lawsuit against the federal government for violations of Endangered Species Act (ESA) regarding its management actions on the Klamath River, California’s second largest river system.
In a case that could have big implications for dams and other development in the Northwest, a federal appeals court panel said Monday that Native American tribes have a right not only to fish for salmon, but for there to be salmon to catch — a ruling that affirms the duty of the United States to protect the habitat of the prized fish under treaties dating back more than 150 years.
Anecita Agustinez has a unique job at a California state agency – she dedicates 100 percent of her time to Native American tribal issues. Her position as tribal policy advisor for the Department of Water Resources was created in 2013 following Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011 implementation of Executive Order B-10-11, which required state agencies to develop consultation policies with Tribes.
The tribe announced Wednesday it has filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A Cabinet secretary, two governors, a congressman, tribal leaders and others will be in Del Norte County on Wednesday morning to announce a plan that has been debated and delayed for years: the removal of dams on the Klamath River.
The Obama administration and California officials are expected to announce a landmark agreement Wednesday to tear down four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, bypassing Congress to restore a major salmon fishery on the Oregon border.
The Obama administration is sounding alarms over potential dangers in the water supplies on the nation’s Indian reservations, saying the vast majority of tribal members live on reservations that haven’t adopted federally approved standards.
Nearly three years after the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians sued the Coachella Valley’s largest water districts, the two sides remain just as far apart in a case that could force changes in how water is managed locally and set a precedent for similar disputes nationwide.
The regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board require all those who divert water from rivers and streams to measure and report how much they use annually. … In a separate decision, the state water board ended a more than decade-long dispute with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians by deciding not to revoke a license held by the tribe.
Three million gallons of contaminated water from the Gold King Mine poured into Colorado’s Animas River in August, laden with cadmium, lead and arsenic. … Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates, a farmer, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the effect of the spill on his life and the Navajo Nation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced more than $30 million in funding to native tribes in California and Nevada. The announcement came at the 23rd Annual Regional Tribal Conference Tuesday in Reno, Nevada.
The following was issued by the Yurok Tribe: Over the past decade, the Yurok Tribe has worked diligently to bring together diverse irrigation, environmental, tribal, power industry, federal, and state parties to develop a workable solution for the Klamath River that would remove the Klamath River dams, restore the fishery, and protect tribal water rights. … Unfortunately, Congress has failed to pass legislation authorizing the agreements …
It might seem easy, summarizing the conflict over the Trinity River in Northern California. But amid record drought, this long-running and singular battle has become a case study about the difficulties in balancing Western water use.
With ceremonial dam release flows expected to reach the Trinity River waters near Hoopa this evening, federal and tribal officials are still working out the details and timeline on another set of dam releases proposed to protect salmonids on the lower Klamath River from deadly infections caused by warm, low-flowing waters.
A federal plan to prevent a potential fish kill this summer on the lower Klamath River drew criticism on Monday from Hoopa Valley and Yurok tribe officials, who condemned the proposal as a lukewarm response to the threat of rising water temperatures and deadly parasites.
As California implements a landmark law to balance demand for groundwater with available supplies, an Indian tribe’s lawsuit in federal court has the potential to add new layers of complexity to managing a prized resource that is in short supply during California’s worst ever drought.
Members of the Klamath Tribes are speaking out against the Klamath water settlements and the new land base being written into them. … The land base transfer now being considered is part of SB 133, the Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to send a letter to the federal government making a formal request for its promised 50,000 acre-feet of Trinity River water in advance of another summer of drought and possible litigation.
While the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began releasing Lewiston Dam water into the Trinity River on Wednesday as part of an ongoing restoration project, Humboldt County and the Hoopa Valley Tribe are seeking for the agency to make another release later this year to prevent fish-kill conditions.
The parties in a dispute over the fate of cultural materials discovered in Sutter County have expressed a willingness to solve the issue, but the path toward an agreement remains uncertain and time is short.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the [United Auburn Indian Community] UAIC disagree about the return of the items uncovered last summer during the Feather River West Levee project, even as both sides meet to resolve the issue.
The chairman of the Klamath Tribes said Friday that the unexpected sale of private timberlands the tribes had hoped to regain to rebuild their lost reservation jeopardizes agreements to settle longstanding battles over water.
Plans for a long-sought municipal aquatic center in Windsor were introduced this week by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, who are willing to pay to build it in exchange for obtaining water and sewer service to the tribe’s planned housing project.
Elected and tribal officials applauded a U.S. Department of the Interior legal opinion released on Friday, which calls for Humboldt County and downstream water users to receive the annual 50,000 acre-feet of Trinity Reservoir water promised to the area under a law and a contract approved nearly 60 years ago.
More than 45 years after five North County Indian tribes filed suit against two water agencies and the U.S. Government for having diverted 90 percent of the water flowing through the San Luis Rey, a settlement agreement has been signed by all the parties. All that now remains is for the deal to be approved by Congress early next year.
Windsor could finally be getting a long-desired municipal swimming facility, courtesy of the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, in exchange for the town extending water and sewer service to a planned tribal housing project.
Two water districts, the federal government, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are laying out their arguments in a lawsuit over water, focusing on the question of whether the tribe has rights to groundwater.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $5.4 million in funding to invest in Northern Calif. tribes’ environmental programs, water infrastructure development, community education and capacity building. The announcement was made at the 22nd annual Regional Tribal Conference in Sacramento, Calif.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $5.4 million in funding to invest in Central Calif. tribes for environmental programs, water infrastructure development, community education and capacity building. The announcement was made at the 22nd Annual Regional Tribal Conference in Sacramento, Calif.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $5.6 million in funding to invest in Southern Calif. tribes for environmental programs, water infrastructure development, community education and capacity building. The announcement was made at the 22nd Annual Regional Tribal Conference in Sacramento, Calif.
This 109-page publication details the importance of protecting source water – surface water and groundwater – on reservations from pollution and includes a step-by-step work plan for tribes interested in developing a protection plan for their drinking water. The workbook is designed to serve as a template for such programs, with forms and tables for photocopying. It also offers a simplified approach for assessment and protection that focuses on identifying and managing immediate contamination threats.
This 16-page booklet looks at potential threats to drinking water sources, and common contaminant practices and sources on reservations. The booklet outlines what tribes can do to protect their sources of drinking water and how individual tribal members can contribute to making those efforts successful.
20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues related to complex water management disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances Fisher.
For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and California border has faced complex water management disputes. As relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp, farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists – all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water. After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the documentary here.
This 30-minute DVD explains the importance of developing a source water assessment program (SWAP) for tribal lands and by profiling three tribes that have created SWAPs. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the video complements the Foundation’s 109-page workbook, Protecting Drinking Water: A Workbook for Tribes, which includes a step-by-step work plan for Tribes interested in developing a protection plan for their drinking water.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many of these issues.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the environment. It features natural and manmade water resources throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River that forms the state’s eastern boundary.
Redesigned in 2017, this beautiful map depicts the seven Western states that share the Colorado River with Mexico. The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the country of Mexico. Text on this beautiful, 24×36-inch map, which is suitable for framing, explains the river’s apportionment, history and the need to adapt its management for urban growth and expected climate change impacts.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.
The Colorado River provides water to more than 35 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.
The Coachella Valley in Southern California’s Inland Empire is one of several valleys throughout the state with a water district established to support agriculture.
Like the others, the Coachella Valley Water District in Riverside County delivers water to arid agricultural lands and constructs, operates and maintains a regional agricultural drainage system. These systems collect drainage water from individual farm drain outlets and convey the water to a point of reuse, disposal or dilution.
This printed issue of Western Water explores the historic nature of some of the key agreements in recent years, future challenges, and what leading state representatives identify as potential “worst-case scenarios.” Much of the content for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth panel discussions at the Colorado River Symposium. The Foundation will publish the full proceedings of the Symposium in 2012.
This printed issue of Western Water explores some of the major challenges facing Colorado River stakeholders: preparing for climate change, forging U.S.-Mexico water supply solutions and dealing with continued growth in the basins states. Much of the content for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth panel discussions at the September 2009 Colorado River Symposium.
This issue of Western Water examines the challenges facing state, federal and tribal officials and other stakeholders as they work to manage terminal lakes. It includes background information on the formation of these lakes, and overviews of the water quality, habitat and political issues surrounding these distinctive bodies of water. Much of the information in this article originated at the September 2004 StateManagement Issues at Terminal Water Bodies/Closed Basins conference.