The Karuk Tribe Presses Timber Plan In Court

The Karuk Tribe is aware of recent media regarding the Westside Project and writes to clarify to its membership that it has not organized any protests because it is currently involved in litigation over this matter. The Tribe’s official position, explaining why it is advocating for a collaborative plan which features sustainable logging and fishery protection, is explained in the attached statement.

Click here for the full press release


Karuk Tribe


For Immediate Release: April 6, 2015


For more information:

Craig Tucker, Natural Resources Policy Advocate, Karuk Tribe, 916-207-8294

Klamath dam removal more certain than ever

Removal Plan Headed to FERC for Regulatory Approval


Klamath, CA — Today, the States of Oregon and California, PacifiCorp, the Yurok Tribe, the Karuk Tribe, and the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce will sign an amendment to the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), it will result in the removal of four dams on the Klamath River in 2020, amounting to one of the largest river restoration efforts in the nation.

The previous KHSA was tied to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA). The KBRA sought to balance water use between the environment and agriculture and funded habitat restoration projects along the entire length of the river. Enacting the previous agreements required Congressional legislation which was introduced by Senators Wyden and Merkley. However, House Republicans Walden and LaMalfa killed local communities’ legislative efforts leaving the agreements to expire.

Ironically, Walden and LaMalfa refused to support the package because of dam removal. Now dam removal is moving forward while their constituents are left without water security. However, parties to the KHSA remain committed to working with agricultural communities and Congress to resolve water disputes.

“We believe that taking care of the Klamath River is the responsibility of everyone who lives in the basin,” explains Karuk Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery. “We can’t restore our fishery without working with our neighbors in agriculture and they can’t secure water for their farms without working with us. Dam removal is huge leap forward, but we must continue to work with the agriculture community to solve water conflicts as well.”

The dams being removed do not provide any irrigation diversions nor do they control flows of the river. That’s a function of how the Bureau of Reclamation manages the Klamath Irrigation Project which diverts water from Upper Klamath Lake.

Along with the KHSA Amendments, State and federal officials also signed a new, separate agreement with irrigation interests, known as the 2016 Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement (KPFA). This agreement will help Klamath Basin irrigators avoid any adverse impacts, to the extent possible, associated with the return of fish runs to the Upper Klamath Basin which are anticipated after dams are removed.

The Amended KHSA will maintain the timeline for dam removal in 2020 and use the same funding strategy as before - $200 million from PacifiCorp customers and $250 million from California’s Prop 1. It creates a new non-profit Corporation to manage the dam removal process called the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. The dam removal plan will be filed with FERC by July 1, 2016 for consideration. PacifiCorp will continue to operate the dams until they are decommissioned.

The KHSA does not suspend or alter any existing environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act or others nor does it waive, alter, or terminate any Tribal water or fishing rights.

FERC typically approves decommissioning plans when submitted by the dam owner, so parties are optimistic that dam removal will soon be a reality.

“This will be the largest salmon restoration project ever in America,” says Karuk Natural Resources Director Leaf Hillman. “It’s been a long time coming. We are more than ready to welcome the salmon home.”


P R E S S  R E L E A S E

Karuk Tribe  

For Immediate Release:   March 28, 2016

For more information:  Lisa Hillman, Food Security Coordinator, Karuk Tribe 530-627-3446;

launched: Klamath BAsin Digital Food Security library

Orleans, CA - As one of the seven collaborators in the Food Security Project for the Mid-Klamath region, the Department of Natural Resources is proud to announce the March 23 launch of the Sípnuuk Digital Library, Archives and Museum. This collection was developed as part of a broad food security initiative in the Klamath Basin funded by the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Security Grant # 2012-68004-20018.  Sípnuuk, the Karuk word for storage basket, is the name for the regional digital library that is one of the objectives of this grant.

“This is a very proud moment for us all here today. Developing this valuable digital resource has required asking some tough questions about preserving cultural heritage; and while we don’t profess to know all the answers, we have come a long way. Fortunately, we have been able to count on dedicated and hard-working staff, and have profited from the advice of representatives from our target audiences: cultural practitioners, tribal leaders, academic researchers, non-tribal community members,” said Leaf Hillman, Director of the Karuk Department of Natural Resources.

Sípnuuk’s overarching goal is to serve as a resource for researchers, tribal departments, tribal and local non-tribal communities to enhance understanding of regional food security issues, identify solutions and to document and provide access to knowledge of traditional and contemporary foods and materials. 

The AFRI Food Security Grant, led by UC Berkeley’s Dr. Jennifer Sowerwine, is being implemented by a network of collaborators throughout the Klamath Basin as well as at external partnering institutions.  “Each collaborating entity and individual involved is doing vital work specific to food security - from academic research to on-the-ground revitalization,” reports Sowerwine. The conceptualization of Sípnuuk was to bring this work, as well as other resources critical to its development, together into a collection that can be used for wide variety of projects and activities that support enhancing food security and food sovereignty in the Klamath Basin.   Currently, over 750 items have been uploading onto Sípnuuk – and its collections continue to grow on a weekly basis.

Contributions from AFRI Participants range from a wide range of food security projects pertaining to land and water management practices, traditional and contemporary foods and materials, and the laws and policies pertaining to food sovereignty.

Explore for more information.

# # #

Press Release

For immediate release: February 4th, 2016

Contact: Susan Gehr, Project Investigator, at, (800) 505-2785 extension x2204

Headline: National Science Foundation Funds 2016 Karuk Language Scholar Gatherings

Happy Camp, CA -- The Documenting Endangered Languages Program of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences has funded a series of gatherings of Karuk language speakers, teachers, community scholars, documenters, authors and editors.

More information about the National Science Foundation can be found at:

The project (Grant #BCS 1500605) will bring members of the Karuk language community together for four meetings to which they will bring audio recordings, photographs to be described and/or Karuk language materials that they would want to discuss long-term preservation and access concerns for.

One of the meetings will be an onsite workshop with a preservation archivist, a half-day instructional session on personal archiving best practices followed by a half day clinic where participants can bring items and situations to the clinic for review and feedback by the archivist.

At other meetings, participants will set preservation goals for their personal language collections and may bring in a part of their collection for refoldering, rehousing or documenting. Participants will discuss their options for long-term access to their collections through looking at deeds of gift for local and regional archives. They will also learn how to prepare for transferring a personal language collection to an individual who might carry on their work or to an archive. Participants will also discuss gaps in the existing collections of documented speech types and topics in order to plan for future teaching, documentation, and publication projects. 

Gatherings will take place in Yreka, Happy Camp, Orleans, and in the Eureka/Arcata area. There will also be time for speaker circles, curriculum exchanges, and other language activities. 

Letters of intent to participate in these gatherings are required. See 

For more information about this project, contact Crystal Richardson, Karuk Language Program Coordinator at, or Susan Gehr, Project Investigator, at, (800) 505-2785 extension x2204


P R E S S  R E L E A S E

Karuk Tribe · Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations · Institute for Fisheries Resources · Center For Biological Diversity · Friends of the River  The Sierra Fund · Upper American River Foundation · Environmental Law Foundation ·  California Sportfishing Protection Alliance · Foothills Anglers Coalition · North Fork American River Alliance ·Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center· Klamath Riverkeeper


For Immediate Release, October 9, 2015



Craig Tucker, Karuk Tribe, (916) 207-8294

Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, The Sierra Fund, (530) 913-1844

Glen Spain, PCFFA, (541) 689-2000

Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (213) 598-1466

John Buckley, CSERC, cell (209) 918-2485; office (209) 586-7440

Bill Jennings, CSPA, (209) 464-5067

California Gov. Brown Signs New Law to Protect Rivers, Fisheries From Gold Mining

S.B. 637 Requires Clean Water Act Permits for Motorized Hobby Gold Miners


SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California Gov. Jerry Brown today signed into law Senate Bill 637 to protect California’s water supplies, wildlife and cultural resources from the damaging effects of destructive hobby gold mining. The new law requires that all small-scale miners using motorized suction pumps obtain a Clean Water Act Permit from the State Water Resources Control Board before mining in California waterways.

“This is a great victory for all of us concerned about clean water and healthy fisheries,” said Elizabeth Martin of the Sierra Fund.

“We are very pleased that our tribal fisheries and sacred sites will receive additional protections from the ravages of gold-mining clubs who have been damaging our resources for decades,” said Josh Saxon, council member of the Karuk Tribe.

The legislation affects suction dredge mining, high banking and any other form of mining that relies on motorized suction pumps to process materials from the banks or beds of rivers and streams. Suction dredges are powered by gas or diesel engines that are mounted on floating pontoons in the river; attached to their engines is a powerful vacuum hose, which the dredger uses to suction up the gravel, sand and mud from the bottom of the river. The suctioned material is sifted in search of gold. Similarly, high banking suctions water to process material excavated from riverbanks, causing erosion and sediment problems as well as affecting cultural sites.

Dredging and high banking alters fish habitat by changing the river bottom and often reintroduces mercury, left over from historic mining operations, to the waterways threatening communities and fisheries. These machines can turn a clear-running mountain stream into a murky watercourse unfit for swimming or fishing. 

Read more: Press Release - New Law to Protect Rivers


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