Opinion, Siskiyou

A Losing Trade – Quality of Human Life + Millions of Animals Dead For What? The Possibility of a Better Salmon Run?

Cover photo courtesy: William E. Simpson II

Deadly toxic sludge released from Iron Gate and Copco Lake bottom sediments. Photo: William E. Simpson II

For over 100-years after the first dam was installed (Copco 1 Dam) and over 60-years after Iron Gate Dam was installed, there was nevertheless a decent run of Salmon and steelhead in the Klamath River, even with all of the changing ocean conditions, climate change, and OVERFISHING by both indigenous people and others. Any fishing guide on the Klamath River below Iron Gate Dam would attest to the fact that fishing was great. 

Therefore, this is the ONLY relevant Question: Is the deaths of millions of wildlife (mammals, birds, fish, etc.) and the collapse of an entire ecosystem, on top of the devastation of the disadvantaged community of people who live on and around the Lakes (Copco & Iron Gate Lakes),  a reasonable payment in exchange for the unproven possibility of an improved salmon run?  

The honest answer is NO!
It’s a horrendous and insane price to pay that only eco-terrorist would demand. 

My father, a very wise man, once told me that: When adults do things that don’t make any sense, it’s usually about money.

Watch this video – just one short beach on the former Iron Gate Lake (now a deadly clay-mud flat) has thousands of dead fish including trout! 

video credit: William E. Simpson II

“Klamath signal crayfish. This crayfish (P. leniusculus klamathensis) is native to the Klamath River, where it is abundant and widespread. It is possible that crayfish in the Eel River also belong to this subspecies and are native (Riegal 1959). The Klamath signal crayfish is considered to be a subspecies because it can be distinguished by both morphology and genetics from the widespread Columbia signal crayfish. The subspecies itself was introduced into Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River in 1895 where it is thriving, although it has hybridized with non-native Colombia river signal crayfish, so is no longer a distinct taxon in the eastern Sierra Nevada. A 1970 study (Abrahamsson et al. 1970) estimated that Lake Tahoe supported over 5.5. million crayfish; a more recent estimate is over 220 million crayfish, which dominate benthic production and affect everything from water clarity to native fish abundance (S. Chandra, unpublished data). Because these crayfish are resistant to crayfish fungal plague (Aphanomyces astaci), which had destroyed the crayfish fisheries in Sweden, Sweden stocked many of their lakes with crayfish from Lake Tahoe. While crayfish fisheries have been tried in Lake Tahoe, they have not been sustained (S. Chandra, personal communication). It would be an interesting experiment to subsidize a fishery for 10-20 years to see if such a fishery could have a positive effect on the ecology of the lake, including native fish, fisheries, and water chemistry.” ~ CaliforniaWaterBlog.com

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