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Hearing (7/31) on Cheney's role in Rio Klamath fish kill of 2002

by Another Dead Green Sturgeon Wednesday, Aug. 01, 2007 at 10:43 AM

Despite previous warnings of an impending collapse of Klamath's riparian ecosystem, Cheney promised basin farmers far more water than could be delivered during a severe drought season of 2002. As predicted, low water flows resulted in a massive die-off of endangered Klamath Rio salmon, today Cheney is being held responsible for his deceptive manipulations of science for profit off of physically unavailable water..

"Hearing on Dick Cheney's Role in Klamath River Fish Kill Takes Place Today!"

by Dan Bacher

Tuesday Jul 31st, 2007 8:23 AM

Today the House Natural Resources Committee will be conducting a hearing regarding the political influence of the Bush administration on agency science and decision making. The hearing will focus on the role that Dick Cheney played in Department of Interior decisions leading to the Klamath River Fish Kill of 2002, but Cheney is not expected to attend. If you want to watch the hearing yourself, go to the Committee's website at:

Committee on Natural Resources

1324 Longworth House Office Building

July 31, 2007

10:00 a.m.


Oversight Hearing on "Crisis of Confidence: The Political Influence of the Bush Administration on Agency Science and Decision-Making."


Panel I

The Honorable Mike Thompson, D-CA

The Honorable Greg Walden, R-OR

The Honorable John T. Doolittle, R-CA

The Honorable Wally Herger, R-CA

Panel II

Mary Kendall

Deputy Inspector General

U.S. Department of the Interior

John M. Seeba

Assistant Inspector General for Auditing

U.S. Department of Commerce

Panel III

H. Dale Hall

Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

U.S. Department of the Interior

Accompanied by:

Steve Thompson, Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Robert W. Johnson, Commissioner

Bureau of Reclamation

William Hogarth

Assistant Administrator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

U.S. Department of Commerce

Accompanied by:

Rod McInnis

Acting Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Region

Panel IV

William M. Lewis, Jr.

Former Chairman of the National Academies of Sciences Committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin

Mike Kelly

Former USFWS and NOAA Fisheries Biologist

Extra background info on 2002 Rio Klamath salmon die-off;

GW Bush/Cheney regime's politics over science

2002 Klamath fish kill predicted

Tuesday Jul 31st, 2007 12:48 PM

There were plenty of early warnings made pre-2002 by nearly all Klamath River residents; natives (Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Klamath/Modoc) and non-natives, and by many fisheries scientists about the increasing risks of salmon mortality from higher water temps, lower dissolved oxygen content and slower water velocity behind the Klamath dams. That 2002 was a drought year wasn't missed by either the Klamath Basin farmers or by the Klamath River tribes. These multiple factors combined to slow the salmon juveniles on their journey to return to the sea, resulting in their gills being infested with "Ceratomyxa shasta", "Flexibacter columnaris" and/or "Chondrococcus columnaris", different species of microbial pathogenic bacteria that cause tissue and gill rot disease in the salmon. These microbial pathogens are known to thrive in warmer, slower water as found behind the lower four Klamath dams..

"C. shasta";

"Research indicates that the potential for infection is enhanced when water temperatures are high, water flow is low, or numbers of infectious C. shasta are relatively high. Infection rates appear to be higher in or below still water environments than riverine ones."

found @;

"C. columnaris";

"Bacterial Gill Disease

This disease is one of the most common in California, and year in and year out probably causes more losses than any other. Rainbow trout, as well as salmon, may be infected. The bacterium responsible for most cases of bacterial gill disease is probably an unidentified species unrelated to Chondrococcus columnaris. The conditions under which this organism flourishes are water temperatures above 56 degrees F. and crowding of the fish."

article @;

There are other bacteria species that can also cause columnaris disease in salmonids, including "Flexibacter columnaris", unrelated to C. columnaris. All these species of pathogens, including others unmentioned, are found to thrive in warm, sluggish water, as in the Klamath reservoirs behind the lower four Klaamth dams..

This from KFA;

"The first parasite is Ceratomyxa shasta, which has been known to infect between 12 and 40 percent of juvenile salmon in recent years. The other is Parvicapsula minibicornis -- which has in the past been found in nearly all juvenile salmon. This year, some 63 percent of the little fish are thought to be affected so far.

Just two years later, though, more than 200,000 infected juvenile salmon died in the river.

Portland, Ore.,-based PacifiCorps' hydropower dams also alter the river's flow regime. The reservoirs behind the dams also act to enrich nutrients and warm the already poor-quality river water let loose from Upper Klamath Lake.

That sparks algae blooms that turns the water alkaline and drops the amount of dissolved oxygen in the lakes, according to research done by the Klamath Basin Tribal Water Quality Work Group.

Salmon get stressed in such conditions, making them vulnerable to diseases. California and Oregon water quality officials have said the conditions are unacceptable.

In contrast, the disease rate in Klamath tributaries like the far-cleaner Salmon and Trinity rivers are markedly lower.

PacifiCorps six dams now in the federal relicensing process, and lower river proponents are pushing for a major investigation of the facilities' effects on water quality.

The 2002 fish kill was caused by a protozoan infection commonly called ich and a bacterial infection called columnaris. Fish and Wildlife found that low, warm water held up migration of the fish in the lower river, leaving them prone to infection."

article @;

These early warnings were ignored by the GW Bush regime's self-appointed scientists who during a drought siphoned off large amounts of water from the Klamath to various agribusiness interests. In addition, the water promised by the government to both agribusinesses and the fishery ecosystem (ie., natural rio agua flow) was severely overestimated, resulting in farms planning for more water dependent crops when none was available without collapsing the entire riparian ecosystem, aka the 2002 Klamath fish kill..

This irresponsible science of overestimation used by the GW bush/Cheney regime to determine water availability led to conflicts between the Klamath Basin farms and the indigenous populations and commercial fishing industry over unavailable water. Despite the false promises of the GW Bush/Cheney regime, there was not enough water physically available in 2002 to sustain a healthy salmon population on the river and water all those farms in the high desert ecosystem of Klamath Basin. Neglected also was the ongoing impact of the lower four Klamath dams that cause stagnation of naturally flowing rio agua, depleted oxygen content, slower velocity, higher temps and toxic algae infestations, literally suffocating the river and the salmon inhabitants..

"Study Confirms The Obvious: Without Water, Fish Will Die"

by Tim McKay

"Excessive water diversions leading to low water flows were the primary reason for the unprecedented die-off of salmon in the Klamath-Trinity river system last fall, according to a report in January by the California Department of Fish & Game.

Another study, released at almost the same time, found that the economic effect on farmers was far more minimal than they claimed when some water was withheld in the parched summer of 2001 for the sake of fish.

Both studies are likely to come into play in the upcoming decisions—in the bureaucracy and in the courts—about how much water should be sold to farmers and how much should stay in the river for imperiled fish. The question has remained intractable for years.

The Fish and Game study was released with little fanfare as media attention turned to the tug-of-war in southern California over Colorado River water.

Farms Or Fish

But the 63-page report confirmed what commercial fishermen and Klamath River tribes have said all along—that federal Bureau of Reclamation diversions of water to subsidized farmers in the upper Klamath basin are killing fish and fishing communities.

What’s more, the report added, similar low water flows are likely to produce more fish kills in the future.

The other report, a 421-page blockbuster by researchers at the University of California and Oregon State University, said the 2001 water curtailments to farmers cost them much less than claimed.

Local farmers announced 0 million in losses, but the researchers found that the basin experienced a loss of million at worst—and may even have benefitted to the tune of million."


article cont's @;

Maybe today the spirit of Tim McKay will pay Dick Cheney an auditory visit and remind him once again in a loud, booming voice that the riparian ecosystem of the Klamath River is not to be trifled with. This includes all the river's residents, human, salmon, sturgeon and all. Contribution to the cultural genocide of the Yurok, Hupa, Karuk and Klamath/Modoc nations is another adverse effect of the near extinction of the Klamath salmon. Charges of genocide against the Klamath's indigenous nations can and will be brought against Cheney, GW bush, Norton, etc.. in an international court setting..

"For Karuk ceremonial leaders and participants, the toxic blooms also constitute an infringement on their freedom to practice their religion. During certain ceremonies, participants bath in the river for long periods of time making them especially susceptible to exposure. “This is one of the ways that companies like PacifiCorp are complicit in the genocide of Native American Cultures,” said Leaf Hillman, a Karuk Ceremonial leader and tribal Vice-chairman."

article @;

We all know that Dick Cheney heard the warnings of impending disater on the Klamath made by Tim and many others early on if there was not enough water available for the juvenile salmon migration to sea. As already endangered species, the Klamath River salmon (& sturgeon, lamprey, etc..) cannot handle any more threats to their watershed home. The people will hold Dick Cheney responsible for the 2002 Klamath fish kill, and we demand that he order the removal the lower four Klamath dams as a beginning restoration effort to save the salmon from extinction..

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