Over the past 25 years an estimated $30 million has been spent in the Scott River Basin to restore salmon and watershed health. Yet, salmon, stream flows and water quality have continued to decline. Restoration funds have often been used to benefit landowners at the expense of fish or for projects that sound good but do not address the key factors limiting salmon production and survival in this river basin.
As Aldo Leopold pointed out in the Sand County Almanac, if the task is restoration then the first action must be to stop doing harm. In the Scott River Basin – as in most places on Earth – human societies have yet to learn that lesson. Government funded restoration has too often become political pork used to mask or at best partially mitigate the ongoing damage that humans are doing to the land and the waters. Until we stop doing harm by dewatering Scott River and tributaries, salmon and watershed restoration will not occur and we will continue to lose significant portions of our heritage including the magnificent salmon.
Visit our KlamBlog for entries and PowerPoint presentations from KlamBlog which focus on dewatering and other management practices which are progressively degrading and destroying the Scott River. You can also learn about conditions on Scott River and throughout the Klamath River Basin on the Klamath Riverkeeper website or at the Klamath Basin Tribal Water Quality Work Group.
KFA is working alone and with partners to challenge and reverse the dewatering of Scott River and to end upslope forest management practices which warm the water and deliver excessive fine sediment to tributaries and the River. These are the key impediments to restoration which must be removed in order for Scott River salmon to survive and recover and for the Scott River to once again be a healthy and properly functioning stream.