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Hope returns for tribes along Klamath River

After decades of losing out to non-Indians and power companies, the tribes in Klamath Basin in northern California and southern Oregon feel hopeful that salmon will return to their rivers.

Last week, a federal judge struck down the Bush administration's salmon plan for the basin. The judge ordered the federal government to consult with the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Yurok Tribe on a new biological opinion to restore water for the threatened coho salmon.

Also last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service recommended the installation of fish ladders and turbine screens on four dams along the river. Tribes say the high costs associated with the equipment leaves open the possibility that the dams could be removed, something they have been seeking for decades.

The Klamath Tribes of Oregon, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Yurok Tribe and the Karuk Tribe depend on salmon in the basin for subsistence. But dams and non-Indian farmers have slowly siphoned off water needed for the fish.

The tribes in the basin attribute high rates of diabetes and other health problems to the loss of their traditional food.

Get the Story:
River May Flow Again, Full of Salmon (The Washington Post 4/2)
A fighting chance for the Klamath (The San Francisco Chronicle 4/2)
California salmon industry at crossroads (The Redding Record Searchlight 4/3)

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