Your article reprinted May 6 from The Counter and titled "Crisis on the Klamath" by Jessica Fu contains a factual error. It states: "Every year, a coalition of tribal representatives, fishermen, and community and environmental advocates sets catch limits on salmon in the region in order to maintain long-term viability."
While the groups mentioned participate in the process, catch limits are recommended by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, a federal advisory committee, and set by the U.S. Department of Commerce. By court decree and settled law, those tribes with treaty or reserve fishing rights are allocated 50 percent of the allowable catch of each stock. Individual tribes then allocate their share among members. State fish and wildlife agencies allocate 50 percent of the allowable catch for each stock to sport and commercial, ocean and in-river fisheries.
Otherwise, the article is excellent. It rightly highlights the only solution to recurring and deepening water conflicts by quoting professor Turlock: "There's got to be some retreat in the Klamath Basin ... I think it's pretty clear there's not enough water to support the existing level of agriculture."
We, the people of the Klamath River Basin, don't need another backroom deal that takes years to negotiate and keeps too much water with white irrigators. What we need is to reduce irrigation water demand in a fair, equitable and smart manner. That means a basin-wide program that purchases water rights from willing sellers and dedicates that water to in-stream use. It is time for key senators and representatives to step up and lead the way. Disaster assistance, while it is appreciated, is not enough. Real leadership will deliver real solutions.
Felice Pace, Klamath