Flyfishing on Klamath River doomed by irrigators in Scott and Shasta Rivers

Fish Out of Water

The Scott and Shasta Rivers which provide prime spawning and rearing habitat  for Salmon and Steelhead for the Klamath River system are bone dry as irrigators drain their aquifers this summer.   This is particularly disturbing after the Nature Conservancy’s recent purchase of the Big Springs property on the Shasta that for the first time in decades is providing fresh cold spring water from it’s source.  The spring typically provides more than half of the normal summer flow.  Due to arcane water rights and a complete lack of local enforcement by the California Department of Fish and Game to protect the Coho and spring run Chinook which are considered endangered in the system, the fresh cold water needed for  juvenile fish to survive is just diverted by irrigators downstream before reaching the Klamath River.  We need to decide in the very near future if we are willing to pay a bit more for hay and potatoes if we hope to save any anadromous fish for our children and grandchildren.  See today’s  article on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle for the grim details.

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