Klamath Fisheries The Lifeblood of Forests & People; in Peril
The Klamath River basin is home to native peoples, including the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk and Klamath tribes, who depend on fisheries. The Salmon River is the most productive stream in the Klamath basin for chinook salmon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Salmon is also a refuge for endangered coho salmon, as well as green sturgeon, lamprey and steelhead - all proposed for protection.
The Salmon River provides as much water for the lower Klamath River as does the entire upper Basin. The Forest Service admits that the cool water of mid-Klamath tributaries, including the Salmon, keeps the mainstem river’s remnant fisheries alive.
Responding to the death of 68,000 chinook at the mouth of the Klamath, the National Research Council called for caution in further management of the Salmon watershed. “Logging and its associated road-building have greatly increased erosion on the steep and fragile slopes of the watershed and have reduced shading of small tributaries, thus increasing water temperatures,” the NRC wrote.
Nonetheless, the Forest Service is still planning huge old growth logging sales and destructive mining projects for the wild salmon river.