Honor Promise and Release Water Into the Klamath River, Says Congressman Huffman
Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) joined Humboldt County today in asking the U.S. Interior Department to honor the county’s right to Trinity River water to protect salmon during California’s extended drought.
“Congress promised this water to Humboldt County 60 years ago and the federal government should honor that agreement,” Huffman said. “After three years of drought, it is critical that this water be made available now.”
Humboldt County was granted 50,000 acre feet of water annually as part of the 1955 legislation that authorized the diversion of the Trinity River. That water has not been made available to date. However, a December 2014 Interior Department legal decision affirmed the county’s right to this water.
“Since 1955, when the Trinity River Act was approved, Humboldt has had the rights to not less than 50K acre feet of Trinity Dam water,” said Humboldt County Supervisor Ryan Sundberg. “It is vital the Bureau of Reclamation recognize this right and help us avoid another devastating fish kill and achieve a healthy Trinity River.”
The water would be used to raise and cool the lower Klamath River during the fall salmon migration. Huffman and Humboldt County have urged the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to begin planning now to prevent a fish kill like the one that occurred in 2002, during which at least 68,000 salmon died. That event had serious effects on tribal, commercial, and sport fisheries in the years following.
“The government has tribal trust obligations and obligations to the public to ensure that it uses all available means to protect our treasured salmon runs,” Huffman said. “Honoring this promise will go a long way to meeting those commitments.”