Skip to comments.Tribes enlist Arnie's help in fishing feud
Posted on 07/24/2004 2:35:05 AM PDT by MadIvan
Native Americans demonstrating in Edinburgh yesterday Fish rotting in the Klamath river. The tribesmen are calling for fish ladders or other measures to allow salmon to move upstream. Picture: David Moir
NATIVE Americans embroiled in a dispute with the energy company ScottishPower have pledged to take their case to the governor of the State of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The tribesmen were in Edinburgh yesterday to demonstrate at ScottishPowers annual meeting. They say dams owned by a subsidiary of the company have damaged their fishing grounds.
They publicly challenged the chief executive of ScottishPower, Ian Russell, to make a personal commitment to resolving the long-running feud.
Mr Russell, who held private talks with the tribes on Thursday, promised to take charge of the companys negotiations.
But the chairman of the delegation representing the tribes, Leaf Miller, said he would bring further pressure to bear on the company by seeking Mr Schwarzeneggers support.
Mr Schwarzenegger is one of only a small number of people with the power to intervene in the dispute and force a solution.
The row concerns six dams in the north of California owned by ScottishPowers US subsidiary, PacifiCorp. Four tribes - the Klamath, Karuk, Yurok and Hoopa - say the dams have devastated the salmon stock in the Klamath river basin.
The salmon are an important part of their economy, religion and history, and the tribes are trying to persuade ScottishPower to modify or remove its dams to allow fish to migrate up-river.
A member of the Indians delegation - whose native American name is Mohiswaqs but who introduced himself at the shareholders meeting as Jeff Mitchell - made an impassioned plea for support from the mostly Scottish audience.
He said: "I want to thank you, the people of Scotland, for your hospitality and for allowing us to come into your homelands to speak to you in this way.
"My people have suffered enormous harm. We would like to see a full range of alternatives - consistent with our principles - to address the issues we have raised. I will come back here again and again until we find a solution."
Mr Russell replied that the tribes had his "absolute commitment" to finding an answer to their dispute. He said: "We completely respect the sovereign nations who are represented here today. They have behaved with great dignity."
ScottishPower is currently seeking a new licence to operate the dams from the US water regulator. The tribes are pressuring the regulator to insert a clause in the licence requiring ScottishPower to provide solutions such as fish ladders - which allow salmon to leap upstream.
Scottish & Southern Energy, the Perth-based rival to ScottishPower, has installed similar devices on some rivers in Scotland. Some of the Californian dams are too tall, however, to accommodate fish ladders, requiring different solutions.
As governor of the state of California, Mr Schwarzenegger can demand the regulator inserts guarantees to protect the tribes interests. Mr Schwarzeneggers office was unavailable yesterday to comment on its intentions in the case.
Mr Miller said he would press for the governors support shortly. "We have had an initial contact with the governors office and I will take a campaign to them when I return to the US," he said.
"In fact, we believe we already have strong support from some of the states agencies, such as the Water Resource Control Board."
Mr Russell told The Scotsman he was unwilling to set a deadline to resolve the discussion. "Some of these licence applications can take up to ten years," he said.
Mr Mitchell said he hoped the company would report at its annual meeting in 2005 that the two sides had agreed a solution.
ScottishPower shareholders heard that the Indian tribes had spent more than three years in negotiations with the companys American subsidiary. They have been pressuring it to add - of its own volition - the desired clauses into its licence application.
But when the company recently submitted its draft application to the US water regulator, there was no mention of the salmon issue. The document is understood to weigh 80lb and stand three-and-a-half feet high.
Mr Mitchell said: "My people have spent years in meetings with PacifiCorp, one week of every month. We have committed enormous resources and hard work. The companys interest in the dams is a very small fraction of their energy production."
He said ScottishPowers commitment to the environment on issues such as green energy was "impressive". Such concerns were in the interests of shareholders, he said, and he asked them to press the company to extend its consideration to California.
Molly White, from the Karuk tribe, who had travelled to the protest with her 14-month-old son, Nicknekich, said: "We hope the shareholders hear our message and we hope it has an effect, because the fish are dying and we cannot live without our fish."
The chief executive of PacifiCorp, Judi Johansen, said she was "100 per cent committed" to finding a solution to the tribes requests. She had joined Mr Russell in the talks with the delegation on Thursday.
Mr Schwarzenegger - also known as Conan the Republican and The Governator in American political circles - pledged recently to "fight like a warrior" for the people of California.
Wait a minute - wasn't there something about irrigation problems at Klamath basin for farmers resulting out of environmental protection of some 'endangered species'? This is going back a few years.
Maybe I'm confused
BTW, is it true that over-fishing by native American tribes has resulted in the depletion of many salmon stocks - not just at Klamath, but in rivers across the US?
whats a fish ladder?
A series of pools arranged like ascending steps at the side of a stream, enabling migrating fish to swim upstream around a dam or other obstruction
You looked that up, right?
Didn't you know? A fish ladder is for fish that have grown feet, after their bodies morphed from all the nasty pollution those damn oil-hungry republicans pumped in the US national rivers. Damnit! ;-)
Yes, and there were some FReepers involved with that.
Nice factual response from someone who calls themselves a journalist... *cough*
Can't speak to the Hoopa issue. We have an old dam in my area without ladders and I'm all for a project to retrofit it.
Coho Salmon and the short nosed and lost sucker fish
Some of these tribes are now casino rich, and aren't they considered independent nations, and not subject to State and County laws? At least that what the Hoopas told us a few years ago, when we chose to pay to camp in a campground on their reservation and their young punks drove in and shot guns over our tents, making us leave in the middle of the night.
They also used to be in the habit of trying to strong arm truck drivers going up the Klamath highway at night. My ex's uncle used to drive truck through that area. They would roll 55 gallon drums onto the highway to stop drivers and then demand a toll.
I have no sympathy for some of these tribes
When I complained to the Forest Service guy in Willow Creek, he just laughed and said it happened all the time, and there was nothing he could do. This was only one of quite a few lousey confrontations on that weekend. I learned my lesson, I stay away from the Klamath area and go over to the Sierras. The Maidus over there seem always kind and friendly.
MadIvan, it's so good to see you!!
Happygal, yes, we had some "flareups" over this a few years ago, and this is just a step in the tribes* neverending plot to take over as much land as they can. Salmon was selling for $1.98 a pound and there are more fish than ever in the rivers. They want the damns breached. Period. There is alot of documentation of these
"indians" taking pickup loads of fish, mostly wasted, just because they can and that they have different laws than the rest of us regarding game, and well, most everything.
*tribes....okay, for example, the Klamath numbered around 800 when white man first encountered them. There are thousands now, and by their own admission, they invite anyone they want to be a tribe member. I'm more native indian than most of them. They've been paid off a number of times for their land, water rights, etc., but they just keep coming back. The US governement over the last 200 years has turned the "sovereign" indian tribes into a bunch of welfare whinners.
It's past time that this country and it's "Indian" affairs came into the 21st century. We should all be living under the same laws. This nonsense should not be happening in the USA.
You can find out more about this battle at www.klamathbasincrisis.org.
OBTW, my ex could pass as a full blood. His father had Tlingit reservation rights.
"None of these tribes mentioned are "Casino Rich""
What about the casino on Hwy 97 just north of Klamath Falls?
Klaymoyah, or something like that.
When I was in Canada last year I understood that native Canadians had extended fishing rights over salmon stocks. (At least the Gitsan tribe did in BC where I was). While Canadians could only rod fish (I think) some of the tribes were netting salmon as they went up-river to spawn. I can understand them having fishing rights over their 'native lands', but jeopardising future stocks is not smart.
Take a look at this one.
The tribesmen were in Edinburgh yesterday to demonstrate at ScottishPowers annual meeting. They say dams owned by a subsidiary of the company have damaged their fishing grounds.
Scottish Power has a generating facility near Klamath Falls that runs on methane from cow dung. It's an economic loser, but heck, they get Kyoto credits for consuming the methane. To get a nice fat return on that new plant, there's nothing quite like getting rid of the Klamath Lakes hydro station to abet an increasingly severe power shortage to bump that return.
It has been obvious since before the California Power Crisis that Scottish Power might look for an excuse to breach that dam. What is truly sad is that bird habitat will take a serious hit if they do, just as cutting back water to the farmers has done because the farmers used to feed the birds on their crop residues. Removing that dam will have serious environmental consequences for bird life on the Pacific flyway, unless there's an available substitute.
I would hazard that The Nature Conservancy (heavily bankrolled by British royals) is thoroughly behind this. As I understand it, TNC has been swiping water upstream of Klamath for a bird santuary of their own for quite some time now (probably illegally).
The loony left are working over time.
Interesting. You amaze me at how you are able to pull all these threads together.
I never see his posts and I have lost contact with him privately.
His last post was in September, 2003.
Well I have an old address. Maybe I will try again.
The fish die off that occurred several years back was due to parasitic infections (Colunaris and Ich.)The Klamath system is universally hot and apparently there were insufficient temperature cues to move the migrating salmon upriver, so they stacked up in large densities trying in a geological bottleneck. It was also a naturally low flow year, (but not the lowest on record.) A major portion of the colder Trinity River is diverted to the central valley (this should change in the future.) Emergency flow releases from the Trinity were used in subsequent years to prevent these die offs. This tear may be another critical year.
On May 10, sick and dying juevenile fish began to appear in fish screw traps on the Klamath River. A comprehensive fish survey was done on an 87 mile stretch of river from Klamath River to below Big Bar. Fish appeared to lack energy, some had bloated abdomens and showed signs of having disease. In samples taken above the Scott Rivers confluence with the Klamath River, 0-50% of the fish showed signs of having parasitic Ceratomyxa Shasta and 60-95% showed signs of having Parvicapsula (kidney disease.) The natural incidence of these parasitic diseases in Klamath River fish is unknown. Studies are being done to learn more about it. It appears to be a substantial factor effecting fish population trends.
As for the dams, there is a large bass lake (Copco) behind Iron Gate. Removal of the dams would drain the lake. A lot of retirees have settled around the lake and their homes would be devalued by millions of dollars. There are also resorts in the downriver canyon which would be affected and white water rafting in the upriver canyon which would be affected.
Approximately 20% of Siskiyou County's tax income comes from the dams and PacifiCorp property in Siskiyou County. There is also the issue of sediment release from a breach of the dam and what that would do downriver. PacifiCorp studies also show that it is unlikely that salmon would survive very far above the current lake.
There are seven dams on the Klamath. Energy facilities are used to privide "peak" power when needed the most by consumers. Iron gate dam was built because the peaking operation made the river fluctuate wildly and killed several fishermen. If you ripped out Iron Gate, you would have to eliminate the upriver peaking facilities as well.
Siskiyou County is supporting efforts such as trucking or bypasses to bring the fish around Iron gate and Copco to see if they will re-establish using adaptive management techniques. This would minimize the damage to other people and the Copunty from ripping out the dams.
There is some information that without the dams, the natural flow of the Klamath became reduced to a much smaller volume of waterin the summer. This follows a similar hydrograph with other rivers in the system.
On the issue of sovereignty, the tribes are domestic dependent nations. Under Public Law 280, they are subject to the General and criminal laws of the State of California. They have the sovereignty to pass their own civil laws, similar to County government.
The Karuk are currently in the process of contracting with the Governor for a casino in Yreka.
I recently traveled through Hoopa and had a flat tire on a Sunday in a County car. A very nice young man and his mother helped me change the tire. They were very friendly. I have worked on several federal committees with the tribal fisheries representatives and, although we have butted heads once in a while, I believe we are beginning to develop a deeper respect for eachother's point of view.
The Upper Basin Farmers are caught between biological opinions requiring minimum lake levels for endangered sucker fish and flows for threatened coho. The NAR National Academy of Science -Research group) determined that hot water flows from the upper basin were not helpful. They are still currently required, none-the-less.
The lake and flow requirments have left farmers with a deficit of water for irrigation. So much so, that a few years back the Byreau of Reclamation cut off their water. Protests were held at the canal headgates, ceasing with a small release of water and the advent of 9/11. Many of the farmers and businesses went bankrupt or suffered heavy losses. Inadequate water allocations continue to plague the farmers.
Well that about sums it up.
It's so funny that they are selling high-priced electricity to California and funneling the "profits" to Sri Lanka and Red China.
To which I referred above. IIRC, they can only pull that in Oregon where they have a totally unconstitutional Kyoto compliance provision, but I little doubt that California pays into that fund when we buy power generated in Oregon.
Geeze! I saw a fish "elevator" at the mouth of the Klamath in the 1970's while on vacation!!!
It was an ingenius contraption being used by an American Indian. He had his Ford tractor hooked to a cable which in turn was hooked to a huge net that extend clean across the river that elevated all the fish that happened to be blocked, waiting to get around the net... RIGHT UP THE BANK AND INTO HIS PICKUP TRUCK!!!
Who the heck needs fish "ladders?" Just put a big net at the base of each dam, hooked to a large crane and lift 'em over!!!
Arnold could have a great "Photo Op" busting a can of compressed envirobullshit repellant over the bow of the crane!!!
So let's see now... If we breach the dams and drain upper Klamath Lake, the endangered short nosed sucker fish ALL die and migratory waterfoul get stranded and the Klamath dries up to a trickle each September/October.
The farmers then all go to the cities and live on taxpayer money and vote for Democrats to keep the money flowing. The rafters and power companies are all left up a well known tributary without the necessary accessories and CA industry shuts down without enough affordable energy at peak periods and the $15 Billion bondage defaults...
Have I got the scenario figured out yet??? If not... Will one of you please straighten me out???
Fish elevators are in use on the Columbia. They work.
You are not confused. The farmers got their water shut off and it was diverted to the river 2+ years ago to make the Indians happy. Didn't save the fish then, either. Drought is a problem for all of to share. Lots of farmers went bust over this water shut off, and the Government is still paying off the remaining farmers who sued.
The bigger problem is the Indian tribes overfishing the rivers. Their tribal numbers have grown, also, and they still expect the rivers and fish to supply them with "their needs".
Now they are attacking the power companies. These same Indians are using power in their homes, both on and off the reservation.
Also, tribes are stumbling over themselves to all have mega-casinos. They are lit up like crazy. SOOOOOOOOO, where do they think the power comes from? If you destroy long standing power sources in less populated areas, and there are no new sources being constructed, and the tribes themselves are suddenly using much more in their casinos than they used in their homes, what do they think will happen?
Someone sure hasn't taken a good look at the long view here, IMO.
Those who are against property rights and the other fundamental, foundational principles this nation and our liberties were founded upon use this act regularly try and destroy those foundational principles.
Read about the entire event here, at THE STAND AT KLAMATH FALLS.
I was privileged to be eyewitness to those events.
Amen my friend, but let me amend that just a little...ANY TRULY PATRIOTIC AMERICAN WHO SEEKS TO KNOW, INTERNALIZE AND FOLLOW THE FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES THIS NATION WAS FOUNDED UPON IS ENDANGERED and squarley in the target sites of Al Quida and their abettors on the left, in the environmental movement, adherants to the UN Agenda's 21 or any of the other myriad efforts such enemies have going in this nation that are attempting to destroy those values.
And the most dangerous of those enemies are those who live amongst us and take advantage of the liberties and the principles in an effort to destroy them. They are true sappers within the perimeter.
The ESA is being used in such a fashion and it DOES NOT need to be amended IMHO...it needs to be abolished in whole.
See my posts 43 and 44.
I seen 'em my FRiend Jeff who has the courage of his convictions!!! I just wish you were here in CA to help encourage all the lilly-livered Republicans and so-called "Conservatives," who are far too afraid to stand up to our very own property rights "Terminator!" (The Governator)
It seems his power of personality just makes everyone but a very few swoon and bow down to his Sierra-Nevada Conservacancy, even though his Recalled predecessor at least had enough sense to veto the ultimate in shear, utter nonsense!!!
The scenario it will trigger is just as stupid as that the one I articulated above and will also trigger an eventual back-lash against Republicans AND Conservatives for decades!!!
I had dinner last night in South Lake Tahoe with a fellow former County Supervisor who is a Republican, but NOT a Conservative and he has lived under the subjective sway of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) and The Tahoe Conservancy (A State Agency with paid State Employees with big salaries and defined benefit pensions) for so long, that he thinks another EnvironMental GovernMental Bureaucrazy would be wonderful!!!
He just beamed and glowed at the prospect of "getting millions of dollars in government grants for everything from erosion control to bike paths!" I asked him why he wanted to stop erosion in the Tahoe Basin. Was it to "Keep Tahoe Blue" per the popular bumpersticker? Then I asked him how any and all of the buildable level land ever arrived in the Tahoe Basin... The silence was deafening!!!
By the way, why don't you write novels about scenarios like this, instead of about the Red Chinese? I know... It doesn't sell as well, right? I know, that wasn't a fair question. Sorry...
I'll tell you what, you come up with a way to declare the conservancies unconstitutional, and I'll back the turnover of all conservancy lands to the general public. The state can go screw itself into the ground.
I have no love for these land grabbing a.h.s.
"I believe we are beginning to develop a deeper respect for eachother's point of view"
Oh, I so hope you are right. Thanks, Marsh.
It's never about the long view, that might be environmentally sound. It's about greed. The thing that causes any man to take what belongs to another. It was true 200 years ago and it still is, the characters have just changed.
Oh,Rocky, I'm sitting here in my study watching what looks llke a 50 mile ridge flame red about 15-20 miles from me. It's Southwest of Klamath falls. I can't find any current information on the net tonight for some reason. We had lots of lightning, no rain, strong winds. Doesn't look good.