Feds release emergency water to Trinity, lower Klamath rivers after deadly parasite found in fish
September 16, 2014
After several fish on the Lower Klamath River were confirmed on Monday to have contracted the deadly ich parasite that previously caused the massive fish die-off in 2002, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released emergency flows this morning to the Trinity and Klamath rivers to prevent further spread, according to Hoopa Valley Tribe Chairwoman Danielle Vigil-Masten.
Starting at 10 a.m. today, water releases from Lewiston Dam to the Trinity River began increasing from 450 cubic feet per second at a rate of 250 cubic per second every two hours. The extra flows will continue until the total release reaches 3,400 cubic feet per second, according to Vigil-Masten.
“We’re hoping the ich hasn’t spread to all the fish yet so we can meet our fishing quota for this year,” Vigil-Masten said.
Nine fish sampled from the lower Klamath River by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were confirmed to have been infected by the ich parasite on Monday, including six with severe infestations, according to the Hoopa Valley Tribe.
The confirmation come days after the bureau finished its fish-kill preventative water releases to the lower Klamath and Trinity rivers on Sept. 14.
The bureau originally announced on July 31 that it would not be releasing water to the two drought-stricken rivers and would instead divert the water from Trinity Lake to the Sacramento River to reduce health risks to endangered fish. After several weeks of pressure by North Coast tribes, local government and environmental officials, the bureau announced in August that it would be performing the preventative releases to the Trinity and Klamath rivers until mid-September and would take further action if signs of poor fish health and river conditions persist.