Skip to comments.Salmon killed by illegal drug activities?
Posted on 02/22/2003 5:27:25 AM PST by Movemout
Salmon killed by illegal drug activities?
Journalist's findings challenge official explanation of cause of death
By Sarah Foster
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Recently uncovered evidence strongly suggests that the deaths of 33,000 salmon and steelhead trout during last September's fall run within 20 miles of the mouth of the Klamath River in northern California was not due simply to a lack of sufficient water, as claimed by a California state agency and environmentalists, but may have been caused by contamination from illicit drug manufacturing operations near rivers in the area.
A second overlooked factor appears to have been the temperature of the Klamath River, which was too warm for salmon. This, in turn, was caused by an unpublicized diversion of water from the much colder Trinity River that flows north to meet the Klamath at the small town of Weitchpec on state highway 96.
In a report in Monday's Siskiyou Daily News, Barry Clausen, an investigator and author, challenged the official view and urged that toxicity and diversion of water from the Trinity be seriously investigated as likely contributory factors to the mysterious die-off.
According to the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department and Larry Hand of the California Conservation Corps, a CCC crew last summer discovered several large glass flasks used for cooking methamphetamine on Ohpah Creek, a tributary of the Klamath River, just 21 miles from the mouth of the river. The flasks had been left on land owned by the Simpson Timber Company above the Ohpah Creek Ranch and were part of a "meth dump" a place where unused residue and cooking utensils from meth labs are discarded.
"Could the illegal marijuana and meth producers dumping chemicals, poisons and waste above the fish kill into creeks, watersheds and river be accountable for the dead fish or at least have magnified the impact of the gill rot?" Clausen asks.
His question calls into dispute the official position of the California Department of Fish and Game detailed in a 63-page study released in early January. As WorldNetDaily reported, the department concluded that "too many migrating fish crowded into a depleted river, allowing the spread of two naturally occurring parasites that destroy the gills of fish. The salmon and steelhead subsequently died of asphyxiation."
The DFG report which is a preliminary analysis in effect casts the blame for the fish kill on the Bush administration's decision to release "too much water for farmers" during the spring without leaving "enough flow for the fish."
The study also warned that unless the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increases flows from the Klamath Lake in coming years, "there is a substantial risk for future fish kills on the Klamath River." The bureau is the federal agency responsible for overseeing water diversions from the Klamath.
According to the DFG report, department biologists after eliminating various factors that could have killed the fish, including drought, a late summer heat wave and a possible spill of toxics into the river found the only difference in the Klamath River in the fall of 2002 compared to other dry years was that the number of salmon returning from their annual spawning run was high and the amount of water in the river was low.
They determined that "no substances were found at concentrations toxic to fish and therefore were not a factor in the 2002 fish kill."
Clausen quotes the report: "Soon after the fish kill manifested itself, claims were made that toxic substances may have been the cause. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Staff collected samples from five locations on Sept. 26, 2002, to determine if any toxic substances were present at concentrations toxic to fish. These scans test for a broad spectrum of organic compounds including organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and Glyphosate."
The date of the testing poses serious problems for defenders of the DFG report.
"The samples were taken seven days after the discovery of the dead fish," Clausen points out. "The question arises would concentrations of chemicals still be present in the alleged test areas after this length of time?"
This also was an issue that struck David Vogel, a biologist who worked for 14 years with fishery research divisions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before starting his own environmental consulting firm, Natural Resources Scientists, in 1990.
"They [Fish and Game] state that the fish kill began Sept. 19, and yet they say that no [water] analysis was done of any potential toxic substances until Sept. 26 seven days later," exclaimed Vogel when interviewed by WorldNetDaily. "So they conclude that toxic substances could not have caused the fish kill, when in reality there's no way in the world you could make that conclusion when the samples were taken a full week later after the fish kill was underway. I was astounded at that."
According to Clausen, who based his conclusions on interviews with numerous law-enforcement officials, toxic substances could have been introduced either from meth production or marijuana growing, the latter being a prominent "cottage industry" in the area. Marijuana growing in itself does not produce pollutants, but does pose a hazard to fish as growers use "rat poison, insecticides and pesticides to kill unwanted animals that penetrate their operations," and these work their way into the groundwater and, ultimately, the river.
Meth labs suspect
But the major suspect for toxicity would be the production of methamphetamine, which uses a variety of chemicals obtained from various sources (such as car batteries) and varying degrees of toxicity.
A few of these, listed by Clausen, include toluene, ether, drain cleaner (sulphuric acid), car batteries (lithium), Red Devil lye (sodium hydroxide), hydrochloric acid, white gas, laundry soap and diesel fuel.
"The chemicals are then cooked in such items as Pyrex dishes or large glass flasks like the ones found on Ohpah Creek," he explains. "Coffee filters are then used to filter the items cooked."
Clausen reports that law-enforcement officials he spoke with emphasized that "the chemicals end up in creeks and watersheds," and ultimately in rivers such as the Klamath.
Several members of the DFG told him they were familiar with the chemicals listed and their potential for harm: "Of course they could kill fish. The fish have gill rot, but there is the possibility they may have survived. If there was any of these chemicals in the river at any level, it would have stressed the fish and yes, it could have been a factor in the kill."
Two persons Clausen interviewed claimed there are five meth labs between Weitchpec and the mouth of the Klamath, one being known to both law enforcement and local residents as the "Crystal Palace." When asked, one Siskiyou County law-enforcement official told him, "It the truth were known, there are probably 50 labs."
The other factor Clausen checked was the temperature of the Klamath River, which Vogel has insisted was too warm for salmon migrating upstream.
As Vogel explained to WorldNetDaily, "Notably absent from the [Fish and Game] report is an analysis of the water temperatures that were present in the Upper Klamath River downstream of Irongate Dam during the time of the fish kill."
He added that the information and relevant data was available, which he had studied, and it was clearly apparent that water temperatures in the main stem of the Upper Klamath were within "lethal range" for salmon.
"They were too high," he emphasized. "So Fish and Game attempts to build an argument for increased flow below Irongate Dam during early September. But the problem with that is that even if the flow had been increased, the water temperatures were unsuitably warm for salmon in the upper river. In other words there was no place for the fish to go."
Added Vogel, "It doesnt take much increase in water temperature to have catastrophic effects on fish. Just a couple of degrees plus or minus can make it or break it for fish."
Warm water temperatures can also foster an increase in the number of death-causing parasites. "A major contributing factor in the fish kill would be the warmer temperature of the water, which Fish and Game did not take into account," said Vogel.
The question, then, is what caused this higher temperature? Basically, there was not enough cold water flowing into the Klamath to cool it off. Cold water would normally flow from the Trinity River, which is 15 degrees cooler than the Klamath. But Clausen discovered that as much as 90 percent of the Trinity's water is being diverted to the Sacramento River.
"This water would usually flow [north] into the Klamath at Weitchpec, but instead is being diverted and utilized in the Central Basin of California," he writes.
The diversion is a major concern to the Hoopa Tribe of Indians, through whose reservation the Trinity flows. Government officials had assured tribal members that the amount of water released from the Trinity Reservoir to the Sacramento would be only 50 percent.
Instead, the amount water being released from the Trinity Reservoir at the time of the fish kill was 73 percent, according to Tom Patton, a hydraulic engineer for the Bureau of Reclamation.
Many of the local Hoopa blame the die-off on this overlooked diversion of the Trinity to the Sacramento River, rather than on the diversion of the Klamath to farms of Klamath basin upstream.
Duane Sherman, who has served on the tribal council, monitors Native American fishing rights, the Trinity River diversion, water levels, water temperature and the fish kill.
"The Trinity is 15 degrees colder than the Klamath, and if the Trinity had been flowing as we were promised, the fish would not have died," Sherman told Clausen.
Asked if he blamed the upstream farmers and ranchers, he said, "No, but something different needs to be done and soon."
The waters just keep gittin murkier an murkier don't they?
"Them's the breaks," as some would say. :)
I have not read this article in it's entirety yet but previous articles reported that the chemicals were dumped directly into the streams.
I've never made meth, but from what I've read to make meth it takes anhydrous ammonia, (a gas), and ether. Unless they off load a semi-tanker of ether into the river, there just isn't enough volume to do the damage.
As I said, this is an emotional ploy, in the fashion of Greenpeace showing clearcuts or seal clubbing to raise donations. Only they don't want donations they want the people out. Rural cleansing, IMHO.
We may never know because the lab samples were taken a few days after the first die off were disposed of. It could have been the trigger for the majority kill. I need to get off my butt and make some local contacts for more on ths.
One thing that sounds strange to me is the release of water from Trinity Lake as the local news was the release was from Irongate on the Klamath. A man drowned on the Klamath near Orleans above the Trinity at the time of the release and it was speculated he was caught by sudden rise in the river.
One thing is for sure. The government folks who are being whipsawed by EnvironMental "Born Again Pagans" who are traditionally some of the biggest customers of the illicit M.J. & Meth industries, are behind all of this, along with the commercial Whitewater Rafting Industry.
These are relentless, remorseless, ruthless people that will stop a NOTHING to stir up turbidity and poison the waters to disrupt economic stability and progress! They seem to hate America's ways as much as the murderous muslims and will create divisive issues where none should exist to "divide & conquer!
I live among these types and in fact they are trying to destroy my community with their self-described "Culture Clash" tactics! I resent it deeply!!! This used to be a pretty good natured place, until the decade of decadence and Clinton, Clinton & Gore, Inc.
You are right about who are the bad/good guys, however, they are tweaking and torquing this Klamath issue to the point where they will have those who resent the WoD fighting those who support the WoD who are both Conservative and defenders of freedom, more or less, and certainly of Liberty for Individualism in our Society.
Now something was done to cause those fish to die like that and it was disgusting to see the State of CA Fish & Game politicize it immediately as a F/U by the Bush Administration who only sought to balance the needs of farmers with fishers and indians!!!
I too think Carry Okie has the cause/result figured out, but I think "the why" had to do with untimely releases due to commercial rafters and power generators needing the commercial value of high flows for "fun & profit!" That makes EnvironMental Extremists like Friends of the River, Inc., who front for the rapacious rafters... HIPOCRITES!!! (and in this case fishkillers for fun and profit IMO)
Finally, when I see the anti WoD people on FR come flocking to a thread like this, acting like "don't bring any heat down on this suspected activity," I get more than a little suspicious that they are a little too generous with the advancing drug culture and I don't like it, either.
There, now, I've not been cryptic or obtuse with you, either.
My parents farmed Southern Indiana bottom land until 1972. I remember until 1968-70 the only thing we ever had to worry about were citzens picking corn and drunks running off the road through the fields.
Then the last few years we had all kinds of crime. Fuel theft, silage theft, arson, etc.
Now, I hear agricrime is beyond belief. Especially for corn farmers who use anhyrdous ammonia.
Just don't confuse "being a little too generous with the advancing drug culture" with being skeptical about the wisdom of being quick to blame them.
If we are convinced that these meth labs pose a serious risk to welfare of the nation as a whole, then we should be willing to accept exceptional measures to stop them. If the federal govenrment cannot stop people from setting up labs in remote rural areas, they may decide the only solution is to de-populate those areas, and make them limited access, moving the people closer to metropolitan and suburban areas. Now, who do you think has that exact scenario as a long term, strategic goal?
GANG-GREEN, of course!
Law enforcement has just as much responsibility to protect us rural people as they do cityslickers. Our tax money spends just as easily as theirs does! Why must we not be as quick to blame as CA F&G are quick to shift blame?
They want all of us productive descendents of the white european males with our American traditions subjugated to their Franco-Germanic tyrannical socialistic will. Yes, they may excuse their heavy handed pressuring to cleanse the rural landscape, but is that supposed to cause us to cower before them in fear of seeking and speaking out the truth of their ruthless ways?
I think NOT!!! Furthermore... I'm not confused, nor am I lacking in wisdom in blaming in view of considerable evidence, per this article. Yes, I'm judgemental and if you don't think you are, them you better get back inside the "Garden of Eden" where people didn't have to discern right from wrong.
Because they're pursuing an agenda that is furthured by lies, and we are pursuing an agenda that is furthured by the truth. Every thing I read about conservative philosophy says that jumping to conclusion is anathema to that philosophy.
If all the groups getting screwed by such disregard of Federal Constitutional power could get together to limit that power, and fight out policy battles like the War on Drugs at the State and local level, the Leftists might finally start losing ground. But instead, people seem to work full time attacking potential allies. There seems to be the same sort of pointless conflict at times between Christians and non-Christians at FR, yet, again, they ought to be allies against a common and ever increasing Federal threat.
Your point is well taken. If you'll notice, the venom in my stinging rebukes was/is aimed at the subject that has caused the most boring and over the top "flame wars" here on FR. (in recent times)
As BigFootBob will tell you, it is also based on transference from an embittering situation here in my own rural community. (he and I have been talking in the FR post office about how I can't even find a place to park in front of mine due to people abusing Prop 215)
It is NOT my intent, nor will it ever be, to damage ANY effective alliances the traditional ag industry has in the K. Falls region or anywhere else, for that matter. It WAS my intent to preempt, or at least counter the usual swarm of attacks on the WoD, using this thread as so many others have been for two reasons.
1. This article is "too legit to quit!"
2. I'm sick of the gag and vomit eternal flaming of the Wod on every thread possible at the slightest excuse to interject such browbeating by proponents of legalization!!!
They have every right to their point of view, but for too long now, they've been "Freepin" FreeRepublic and there are many of us who will not be moved and are sick of being shoved with their eternal irrational exuberance!!!
Now it appears, we can't even sit around on this thread and explore the possibilities and expressing opinions without some inordinate fear that we'll be stepping on someone's alliance building.
All this when we KNOW that the leading proponent (kerr) of the effort to shut off the "A" canal is so far the most successful and hurtful proponent of creating more lame brane dead heads like himself while driving legitimate farmers out.
Ok, you're probably right, I suppose by now the farmers and ranchers are so desperate they'll be forced to deal even with devils like this guy and his ilk. Therefore, it is suddenly no one's business on the outside as it's a question of survival... I understand that.
But still, we should be free, here on FR (subject to the owner's will) to express our opinions and ideas on at least this thread, without still another hideous domination of conversation by overzealous legalization proponents!!!
Yet it's the world's foremost forum for Conservatism, right?
The missing "S" - skepticism - is the one that counts.
Maybe so, but I live in a rural area, and I'm not in any particular hurry to have the federal government do for me they've done for the people in the inner cities.